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Pope Denounces Kidnappings, Calls For Respect of Human Life - 2004-10-02

Pope John Paul II has denounced using hostages as bargaining pieces and called for respect of human life.

The pontiff made the comments in French Saturday as he accepted a political courage award from a French Catholic television station and French political magazine.

He told the audience at the Vatican that his thoughts go out to journalists, who he described as artisans of peace and liberty, and face danger in conflict zones.

He said there is no justification for kidnappers using a human life to bargain for demands.

His comments come as officials still seek word on two French journalists who have been missing in Iraq since August.

Militants who claimed to have abducted the pair have called for France to repeal its headscarf ban in state schools.