Tutu withdraws from leadership summit in protest against Iraq invasion

2012-08-28 17:17

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has withdrawn from the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg because of the attendance of former British prime minister Tony Blair, his office has said.

“The Archbishop has spent considerable time over the past few days wrestling with his conscience and taking counsel from trusted advisers with respect to his attendance at the event,” the Archbishop’s office wrote to the event organisers today.

“Ultimately, the Archbishop is of the view that Mr Blair’s decision to support the United States’ military invasion of Iraq, on the basis of unproven allegations of the existence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, was morally indefensible.”

The Archbishop’s office said that “morality and leadership are indivisible” and it was “inappropriate and untenable” for Tutu to share a platform with Blair.

Yesterday, the Muslim political party Al Jama-ah said it plans to protest against Blair when he speaks on Thursday.

“The demonstration is being held to support a warrant of arrest to charge him for crimes against humanity relating to the invasion of Iraq which led to the killings of millions of Iraqis,” said Al Jama-ah president Ganief Hendricks.

“It is hoped that one or more demonstrators will be able to make a citizen’s arrest on the day and put Tony Blair in jail and extradite him to The Hague for trial.”

The website arrestblair.org has offered monetary awards to people who try to make a citizen’s arrest of Blair for alleged crimes against humanity.

Attempts to arrest him have been made in China, outside the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war and the European Parliament; and in Dublin, Ireland.

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