When Norman Kember was 18, he chose to work in a hospital rather than serve in the the military. Now 74, Kember has remained a pacifist ever since, his family said.

"He feels very strongly that the occupation in Iraq is a mistake," the family said in a statement released before Al-Jazeera broadcast a video Tuesday of Kember and three other Western hostages in Iraq.

"He is in Iraq at this time because of the human rights abuses being perpetrated against the Iraqi people," the family said.

Kember, of northwest London, was a professor of medical physics at St. Bartholomew's Hospital until retiring 13 years ago.

"I've done a lot of writing and talking about peacemaking. I've demonstrated, you name it I've been on it, but I feel that's what I'd call cheap peacemaking," Kember told Premier Christian Radio before he left for Iraq.

Asked if visiting Iraq could be more costly, he replied: "It could be."