Kidnappers of Iraq Lawmaker Make Demands

The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 5, 2006; 7:03 AM

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Kidnappers of a Sunni legislator have demanded the release of all detainees, a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops and an end to attacks on Shiite mosques in exchange for her freedom, an Iraqi vice president said Wednesday.

Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi told reporters that a group claiming to be holding lawmaker Tayseer al-Mashhadani contacted his Iraqi Islamic Party and made the demands. Al-Hashimi did not say when or how the contact was made and whether the group offered proof to back up their claim to be holding her.

But al-Hashimi, a Sunni and the party's leader, said "we believe she is alive."

Al-Mashhadani and seven of her bodyguards were seized Saturday by gunmen at a checkpoint in a Shiite part of eastern Baghdad. The main Sunni political alliance has suspended its participation in parliament to demand her release.

"We call on you in the name of Islam to end her suffering," al-Hashimi said in a message to the kidnappers.

© 2006 The Associated Press