Wednesday, January 16, 2008


It is one of those days I would rather stay inside and not be bothered by the world. Such luxury is alas not permitted since two prisoners claim my attention. Ingrid Betancourt who has been a captive of the FARC for 7 years. The picture shown of her, is heart wrenching: she looks worn out, too tired to speak. I once met her mother and daughter campaigning for her release. Her crime was being a high profile presidential candidate so the FARC snatched her away from her life as she had exchange value for FARC prisoners. She should be freed now.

The other prisoner who makes me write today is a leading Iranian journalist and human rights defender Emadeddin Baqi who suffered a heart attack in prison on December the 26, leaving International Pen with serious health concerns. Baqi, who wrote The tragedy of democracy in Iran is detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to free expression, and should be released immediately and unconditionally on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a signatory. Having the luxury to go out and to write what is on my mind creates a solidarity with those who cannot, being punished for who they are and for doing what I take for granted: exercising their right to free speech. at this e-mail address you can appeal for his release. WIPC Flanders is also working for him.

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