BBC reporter Alan Johnston released after 114 days in captivity.
BBC reporter Alan Johnston is released and this is of course very welcome news. But what about the 10,000 Palestinians held hostage by the Israeli occupation or the 20,000 or more Iraqis held by the American and British occupation? How about the hundreds of hostages held in Guantanamo and Bagram?
While the abuses of prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib have been fairly well documented les is known about Bagram which former Guantanamo inmate Moazzam Begg described as being worse than Guantanamo:
According to Janis Karpinski, commander of Abu Ghraib during the time of the abuses estimated later that 90% of detainees in the prison were innocent.
The lunchtime news reports on BBC1 and ITN on Wednesday 4th July both devoted half their bulletins to the freeing of Alan Johnston. ITN interviewed Terry Waite - a former hostage in the Lebanon. We were reminded of British `security personnel` captured in Iraq. Why are we not reminded of the much greater injustice of the Palestinian and Iraqis who languish in filthy jails with little or no prospect of release?
The names Alan Johnston and Gilad Shalit (the young Israeli soldier kidnapped on June 26th 2006) are familiar to most people thanks to the efforts of the western media. The many thousands of Palestinian and Iraqi prisoners are invisible as far the media is concerned.
Here is an account of the Palestinians held in Israeli jails according to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem: