Families plea for hostages to be freed

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The Independent Online

The families of five British men who have been held hostage in Iraq for nearly two years have spoken of their hopes for their release.

The men, who were working as civilian contractors, were kidnapped by armed militants at the Iraqi Ministry of Finance in Baghdad in May 2007.

Maddi, the seven-year-old daughter of one of the men, who has been named only as Jason, wrote her father a note, saying: "We all want you to come home. I love you very much."

The Foreign Secretary David Miliband pleaded with the hostage-takers to free the men "immediately and unconditionally".