Amnesty International was born out of the injustice of the forgotten prisoner. In 1960, a British lawyer, Peter Benenson, read a story about the imprisonment of two Portuguese students, who had raised their wine glasses in a toast to freedom, but had been overheard and imprisoned. Benenson wrote an article, ‘The Forgotten Prisoner’ for The Observer which started the worldwide movement, Amnesty International, which works on behalf of prisoners and in support of basic human rights for all.
Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit is completing his fourth year of isolated captivity June 25th, 2010.
Although Hamas has asserted that Gilad is alive and being well treated, the only communications that Gilad has had with the outside world, and indeed the only real proof of life that have been put forward, are a videotape and letter written by him in 2007, a year after he was captured, and another videotape passed on to the Israeli government in October 2009.
Amnesty International members have been campaigning on behalf of Gilad Shalit since 2006 and to also end the misuse of administrative detention of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories by Israel and for family visits. Amnesty has condemned the use of prisoners as political bargaining chips as a violation of international law by both Israel and Hamas, the de facto administration in the Gaza Strip, noting both Israel’s detention of Palestinian parliamentarians as well as the detention of Gilad Shalit.
As Gilad’s captivity closes in on the fifth year of secret imprisonment, Amnesty International urges Hamas to abide by its international obligations. Gilad should be afforded his rights to regular visitation by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), regular communication with his family and to be treated humanely. He should also not be used as a ‘bargaining chip’.
Don’t let Gilad become a ‘forgotten prisoner’. Join Amnesty in its call for Gilad to be treated humanely by taking action online now.