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Palestine: Kidnap Victim Sympathetic to Cause

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    British worker seized with her parents in Gaza Ms Burton, who according to unconfirmed reports comes from Scotland, and is believed to have a master s degree
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2006
      British worker seized with her parents in Gaza

      Ms Burton, who according to unconfirmed reports comes from Scotland,
      and is believed to have a master's degree in international law, has
      worked for Al-Mezan, a Palestinian human rights organisation in
      Gaza, for the past three to four months as the co-ordinator for
      international affairs.

      Militants join calls to free Britons
      On Thursday night a masked leader of the al-Asqa Martyrs Brigade
      called for the release of Kate Burton, 24 and her parents, claiming
      the kidnapping "harms the resistance effort". Militant group Hamas
      also called for the the Britons to be freed, while Palestinians took
      to the street in their support. The family of the Burtons spoke of
      their "deep concern" for them.

      Palestinians attack kidnap of Briton devoted to their cause
      Having lived in Gaza for the past three years and being an Arabic
      speaker, she would have been acutely aware of the heightened
      tensions and the Foreign Office warning that Britons should leave.
      But she told friends that she often felt that Western organisations
      were too eager to evacuate to a more comfortable billet, leaving
      behind those they were supposed to be helping. "She was that rare
      breed who cared for others more than herself," the friend added.

      No demand from Britons' kidnappers
      "They have not made any demand and they have not revealed their
      identities," Ala Hosni told a news conference. Human rights worker
      Kate Burton was seized along with her visiting parents in southern
      Gaza on Wednesday.


      Kidnap Briton to go on working for Palestinians

      Conal Urquhart Jerusalem and Jamie Doward London
      Sunday January 1, 2006
      The Observer

      The British aid worker kidnapped with her parents in Gaza last week
      has vowed to stay on to help the Palestinian people despite her
      In a joint statement, Kate Burton and her mother and father said
      they had been treated well by their captors. 'We are glad these last
      few days are over and we would like to express our gratitude to the
      Palestinian Authority, the British government and all groups and
      individuals in Gaza and worldwide who have been supporting us,' the
      statement said.

      'We are in good health and have been treated extremely well through
      the ordeal. Kate Burton plans to stay in the region and continue
      working with the Palestinian people.

      'Kate remains committed and passionate about working alongside the
      Palestinians to improve their external image and alleviate the
      difficult conditions being suffered by the Palestinians in the
      occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.'

      The Foreign Office strongly denied last night that a deal was struck
      with the kidnappers of the aid worker, who was released late on
      Friday night after being held hostage for two and a half days in

      Burton, 24, and her parents - Hugh, 73, and Helen, 55, known as Win -
      were seized last Wednesday in the southern city of Rafah. Their
      kidnappers, members of a previously unknown Palestinian group called
      the Mujahideen Brigades, issued a statement claiming they had freed
      the three after receiving assurances from Britain and the European
      Union that they would work to end the Israeli 'no go' zone in
      northern Gaza.

      But British diplomats issued a rebuttal last night, claiming they
      had given the kidnappers no such undertaking. 'We never give any
      assurances or negotiate. That's our standard policy,' a Foreign
      Office spokesman said.

      News of the Burtons' release brought joy to their neighbours in
      Newbury, Berkshire. One of them, Frances Berry, said she
      was 'absolutely delighted', adding: 'They are really such lovely
      people. Now 2005 can end on a good note.'

      Last night a clearer picture of the chaos surrounding the release
      started to emerge. On Friday evening the kidnappers agreed to free
      them once the group had produced a video attacking Britain's role in
      the Middle East and threatening further kidnappings if the
      international community failed to put pressure on Israel to stop
      bombing the north of Gaza.

      In the video Kate Burton, 24, was shown looking tense but collected
      as a masked man read a statement outlining the demands. The video
      production was halted by a power cut, and the kidnappers had
      difficulties editing the footage, setting back the release three

      The kidnappers then insisted on delivering the Burtons to their Gaza
      City hotel, but changed their mind when they saw large numbers of
      media and police there.

      Eventually a British official persuaded the kidnappers to meet him
      in a side street, and the three were released. The official managed
      to take hold of Kate Burton and her mother, but Hugh Burton panicked
      when he saw a jeep pull up with armed men who, it transpired, were
      plainclothes Palestinian police.

      Fearing he was going to be kidnapped again, Burton sprinted towards
      the hotel 100 yards away where he was intercepted, calmed and
      bundled in a car.

      The three were driven from Gaza to Jerusalem, where they had been
      booked to spend the night in the luxurious American Colony hotel,
      but instead they chose to stay with friends.

      During the journey the Burtons gave some details of their captivity,
      but British security officials have yet to carry out a full

      Kate spent much of her time in ideological discussions with her
      captors, and is believed to be reluctant to provide much information
      on them for fear of becoming a target on her return to Gaza.

      British sources said she was finding it hard to accept that she had
      been a victim of a crime and deprived of her liberty.



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