'Kidnappers of 5 British hostages claim one of the men has killed himself'

A Shi'ite militia that has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of five Britons in Iraq more than a year ago said one of the hostages committed suicide, a British newspaper reported. The Sunday Times of London published what it said was a statement in a video it obtained from the group through an intermediary in Iraq. The video, available on the Times Web site late Saturday night, shows an Arabic-language statement claiming that one of the hostages - identified only a Jason - killed himself on May 25. A photograph, apparently of Jason, is affixed to the top left corner of the statement. The newspaper said the statement blamed the British government for ignoring statements that the kidnappers and the captives have made. In the past, the militia has demanded that that all British forces be withdrawn from Iraq and that Iraqis held by US-led forces be freed. "This procrastination and foot-dragging and lack of seriousness on the part of the British government has prolonged their psychological deterioration, pushing one of them, Jason, to commit suicide on 25/5/2008," the Times quoted the statement as saying.