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Catholic World News News Feature

US Religious Leaders Plan Trip To Embargoed Iraq August 29, 1997

DETROIT (CWN) - A US bishop is planning a trip to Iraq along with six other religious leaders in defiance of a ban on travel to the pariah nation to deliver thousands of dollars of medicine.

The group, leaving on September 1, are traveling as part of a campaign called Voices in the Wilderness that seeks to have UN sanctions against Iraq lifted. The sanctions were imposed in 1992 after Iraq invaded Kuwait. The US Treasury Department has warned Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Father Bob Bossie, SCJ, of Voices in the Wilderness, Tom Malthaner and Randy Bond of Christian Peacemaker Teams, Kathy Bergen of the Quaker's Middle East Edication program, Sister Eileen Storey, SC, and Chuck Quilty of Pax Christi that they risk 12 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted of violating the ban.

"I hope my trip will highlight the suffering of the Iraqi people and help us tell their story to US people," said Bishop Gumbleton. The group said it will deliver $15,000 of donated medicine and will return to the US on September 12. They will depart for Iraq from Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Geneva. Voices in the Wilderness has sent six previous delegations to Iraq, since March, 1996.