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Former Hostage to Raise Money for Charity

June 10, 2003

LONDON (AP) _ Former Lebanon hostage Terry Waite, who was chained to the wall of a Beirut cell for nearly five years, will spend a day in a British prison to raise money for charity.

The 64-year-old writer and broadcaster will spend 24 hours in a Birmingham prison cell to help raise money for sick children, he said Tuesday.

Despite spending 1,760 days sleeping on the floor of a Beirut cell before his release in 1991, Waite said he had no qualms about the charity challenge.

``I’m rather looking forward to it,″ he told Press Association, the British news agency. ``I think it’ll be a lot more comfortable than the kind of surroundings I had to put up with.

``After spending nearly five years sleeping on the floor and chained to a wall, one night in a bed in prison isn’t going to be too bad.″

Waite was asked to participate in the lockup by prison governor Mike Shann when they met at an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Money raised from the Sept. 6 event will be donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.

Waite was trying to negotiate the release of Western hostages in his capacity as a special envoy of the archbishop of Canterbury when he was taken hostage in January 1987. He was released in September 1991.

The captives, held by pro-Iranian Shiite Muslims, included Terry Anderson, then the chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press. Anderson was freed after spending nearly seven years in captivity.

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