Terry Waite launches defence of Hezbollah, the militant group that kidnapped and torture him 25 years ago
Sunday 09 December 2012
Terry Waite, who was kidnapped and tortured 25 years ago by associates of the militant group Hezbollah, has returned to Lebanon to meet representatives of the organisation responsible for his capture.
The 73-year-old returned to Beirut last week to reconcile with his captors and to lay to rest the ghosts of the past.
Meeting Ammar Moussawi, a senior figure within Hezbollah, he told him: "My first reason for the visit is to say the past is the past. Let us leave it."
Mr Waite also highlighted the plight of Syrians fleeing civil war in their homeland and asked for Hezbollah's help in the run-up to Christmas, he told the Sunday Telegraph.
Mr Waite travelled to Lebanon in 1987 as an envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury to try to secure the release of British hostage John McCarthy and other Western captives.
But he was accused of being a CIA agent and kidnapped.
For the first year of his captivity, Mr Waite was subjected to beatings and a mock execution. He was kept mainly in solitary confinement, chained to a radiator for 23 hours a day.
He was released at the end of 1991 and now says Hezbollah is a party of "stature", and that the west's view of the group is "very negative".
Mr Waite told Mr Moussawi, the organisation's most senior foreign affairs official, that Hezbollah was seen "quite wrongly" as a terrorist organisation.
He then asked for the group to help refugees fleeing from Syria, saying: "It is my view that Hezbollah can do itself a great deal of good at Christmas, the Christian festival, by perhaps doing something to give some support to the refugees who are in this country.
"When it does, the message will carry beyond the border of Lebanon."
During the meeting, Mr Moussawi denied Hezbollah were responsible for his kidnapping and said Mr Waite would be welcome back "any time".
Mr Waite added in a statement: "Hezbollah has a negative image in the West and there are those who will accuse me on consorting with terrorists.
"I would remind such accusers that Hezbollah has grown into a fully-fledged political party with seats in Lebanon's Parliament and is now in a unique position to work for peace in the region.
"I met with them quite prepared to put my own sufferings in the past.
"After all, the people of Lebanon have suffered far more than I have. The only way forward is by the pathway of forgiveness, which is a difficult and dangerous road."
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 4 The most powerful passports in the world
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake: How you can help victims of the Kathmandu disaster
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: The photo of a tree that proves the Tories have an image problem
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...