Video could aid Chechnya couple

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The Independent Online
THE FAMILIES of two Britons held hostage in Chechnya have been inundated with offers of help after a video of the couple was shown on television, writes Suzanna Chambers.

The film, screened last Wednesday, showed Camilla Carr, 40, and Jon James, 38, in reasonable health. Although they appeared gaunt and pale, their families have been heartened by the "positive" way they were speaking, said Ms Carr's sister, Alexandra Little.

"A lot of people have come forward since the video to say `What can we do? Can we send them mail?' It has actually brought to the public's attention the fact that Camilla and James are there in a dreadful situation," Mrs Little said.

The two-minute video is the third the families have seen since Ms Carr, from Bath, and Mr James, from Gloucestershire, were kidnapped in July last year in the Chechen capital, Grozny, while working at a children's home.

It is, however, the only footage to be televised, after it fell into the hands of Alexei Mitrofanov, chairman of the Russian government's committee on geo-politics. The families had been anxious not to publicise the first two videos, fearing that they could raise the stakes and make it harder to secure the couple's release.

"We now need to do more, in the light of the video, to plan future events carefully," said Mrs Little. A campaign for the couple's release was launched last December.

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