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Beirut Papers Publish Holiday Letters to Hostages

Associated Press

Lebanese newspapers published Christmas letters Saturday to American hostages Terry A. Anderson and Thomas Sutherland and to British captive John McCarthy from their families and friends.

The U.S.-based Journalists’ Committee to Free Terry Anderson urged the pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad (Islamic Holy War) to free the journalist and Sutherland “in the name of humanity.”

“As Terry Anderson and Thomas Sutherland face their fourth Christmas and New Year holidays as hostages, we, their friends and colleagues, ask you once again in the name of humanity to set them and others you are holding free,” the committee said in a 20-line letter. An Arabic translation was published by five of Lebanon’s 14 daily papers.

Anderson, 41, of Lorain, Ohio, the chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, is the longest held of the 16 foreign hostages. He was kidnaped March 16, 1985. Sutherland, 56, of Ft. Collins, Colo., was acting dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut when he was abducted June 9, 1985.

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The journalists’ committee called on the kidnapers to “please relay to Terry and Tom and others that they are not forgotten.”

Beirut’s leftist As Safir daily published letters in English to McCarthy, 32, a producer for the London-based Worldwide Television News who was kidnaped April 17, 1986.

A three-line message signed by his parents said: “All our love John. Happy Christmas and we’re sure we’ll see you soon.”

McCarthy’s fiancee, Jill Morell, wrote: “Darling John, we are spending another Christmas wishing you were here with us. Don’t despair. Try to keep your spirits up and be sure you’ll be home with us soon.”

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