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September 03, 2003

Faith was concerned by suicide

By David Charter

THE Baha’i faith to which David Kelly belonged put spiritual guidance about suicide on its website after the weapons expert’s death, the Hutton inquiry was told.

Barney Leith, secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United Kingdom, said that the religion condemned suicide but would not take a condemnatory attitude to those who took their own life. “The act of suicide is condemned in Baha’i writings because it is an undue curtailment of a life that should be followed to the full,” he said.

Mr Leith, who had met the weapons expert three or four times, confirmed that Dr Kelly converted in September 1999 in California. He referred to the disclosure in The Times on Monday that Mai Pederson, a US military linguist, helped to bring Dr Kelly to the faith. Dr Kelly attended meetings of his local spiritual assembly of the Baha’i of the Vale of the White Horse, briefly being one of nine members of the assembly. He also served for a short time as treasurer. Mr Leith said he had never heard Dr Kelly discuss his work, and other members also said he had not talked about it.

©Copyright 2003, The Times (UK)

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