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UK PM Brown: Hostage video deplorable

  • Story Highlights
  • UK PM Brown speaks with Iraqi counterpart al-Maliki about video of British hostage
  • Man says he is Peter Moore, one of five Britons kidnapped in Baghdad in May
  • Calls on UK PM Brown to arrange a prisoner exchange
  • Video is signed by group calling itself Shiite Islamic Resistance in Iraq
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown consulted with his Iraqi counterpart Wednesday, following the release of a video showing a British national who was kidnapped in Iraq.


Peter Moore as he appears in the video broadcast on Al-Arabiya.

Downing Street said Brown spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki about the video that was released on Tuesday on the Arabic-language network Al-Arabiya.

It shows one of five Britons taken hostage on May 29 in Baghdad.

"The PM has been in close contact with PM Maliki on this case, and discussed it again with him over the 'phone this morning," a statement from Brown's office said.

"Both leaders deplored the taking and public parading of hostages, and agreed to continue their close cooperation to secure their early release."

In the video released Tuesday, a man who identified himself as Peter Moore pleaded with the British government to perform "a simple exchange" of prisoners with his captors so "we can go home."

Moore appears alone in front of what appears to be a red curtain. His appearance is far different than in a Dec. 9 photo on the Web site of The Sunday Times in London.

The Times photo shows a clean-shaven Moore with strawberry blond hair and glasses. In the video, Moore has dark hair, a dark moustache and full beard, and no glasses.

In the video, Moore calls on Brown to arrange a prisoner exchange so the five can be released.

"It's a simple exchange -- release those that they want so we can go home. It's as simple as that. It is a simple exchange of people. This is all they want, just have their people released," he said.

The five Britons were seized along with two Iraqis from an Iraqi Finance Ministry building in Baghdad and were said to have been taken toward the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City.

According to an anchor at Al-Arabiya, the network "received a tape that had a statement and a video showing a man who appears to be a British hostage. The video is signed by a group calling itself the Shiite Islamic Resistance in Iraq.

"The statement was addressed to the British people, asking them to demand that their government release nine Iraqis that have been detained for a year now and, in return, the organization vows to release five British hostages that they've had for several months."

According to CNN reporters in Baghdad, this appears to be only the second time anyone has heard of this group. However, they noted that there are hundreds of organizations, militias, splinter groups and gangs in Iraq. They also tend to change names when leadership or alliances change.

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The last video of one of the hostages was dated Nov. 18, but released in December and also came from the Shiite Islamic Resistance in Iraq.

It showed one of the hostages, identified only as Jason. The kidnappers warned that a hostage would be killed if British troops did not leave Iraq in 10 days.

Moore was teaching Iraqis computer skills when he was kidnapped, the Times said, and had previously worked in Guyana assisting with relief operations following floods in 2005.

Moore's employer, the Virginia-based management and technology consultant firm BearingPoint, confirmed his identity to CNN.

"We are all praying for the urgent and safe release of Peter," Betsy Palmer, an executive vice president, told CNN.

Palmer said Moore, a computer consultant, had been with the company only a few months before he was abducted. She added that the company is in contact with the British government.

Moore is a full-time employee with BearingPoint, she told CNN; the other four men are contractors working for the firm. According to the Times, the four were bodyguards.

The British Foreign Office issued a statement Tuesday saying the videos are: "greatly distressing to the families of those involved. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"We urge those holding the group to release them immediately. We are in close contact with the Iraqi authorities and doing everything we can to try and secure a swift release. We ask all those who may be able to influence those holding the five men to make every effort they can to secure the safety and the release of the hostages."

A British cleric -- Canon Andrew White -- unsuccessfully tried to negotiate the release of the five captives in July. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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