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How Amnesty chose the wrong poster-boy – by David Aaronovitch February 9, 2010

Posted by amnestyhaslostitsway in Afghanistan, David Aaronovitch.
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If you were a prisoner of conscience, a dissident, hounded by the authorities, imprisoned without proper process, shut up, shut in and shut down, then an organisation such as Amnesty International might be your one breath of air. Those Amnesty postcards, which seem like flinging a dart from a mountainside, may keep someone from despair. So the news that there is trouble at Amnesty is not welcome, except to tyrants. And yet it is hard not to see these ructions as being Amnesty’s own fault.

The problem came to prominence at the weekend when The Sunday Times reported that one of Amnesty’s senior officers, Gita Sahgal, had circulated a memorandum extremely critical of the organisation’s collaboration with a group called Cageprisoners. Cageprisoners’ most famous figure is the former Guantánamo inmate Moazzam Begg, a man whose three years’ incarceration without trial has helped, for many liberals, to turn him into a kind of Muslim Mandela — an embodiment of the wrongly accused.

Read the full article in the Times.