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Letter campaign to demand the release of Baba Jan and his friends

June 1, 2012

We appeal to all supporters in Pakistan and abroad to write letters to the authorities or the Pakistani embassies in their respective countries to demand the immediate release of Baba Jan and his friends!

In Denmark, Christian Juhl, member of Parliament, wrote a letter of protest to various Pakistani authorities.

In Australia, David Shoebridge, parliamentarian, wrote  to the High Commissioner and to Consul General of Pakistan.

In Indonesia, a protest was organized in front of the Pakistani embassy and supporters wrote letters to the Pakistani ambassador in Jakarta.

In France, supporters have been lobbying their members of parliament on the issue.

In the USA, the members of the National Committee of Solidarity wrote to the Pakistani ambassador in Washington.

In Switzerland, supporters have been sending letters to their Pakistani ambassador.

What is now needed is a re-doubling of efforts, both national and international, to press the issue in Islamabad and make the scandal impossible to ignore for the federal government – convince them that they stand to lose more by backing their stooges in Gilgit Baltistan than by releasing the Hunza Five and implementing the recommendations of the GB government’s own judicial inquiry into the the killing of unarmed protestors Afzal Baig and Sher Ullah Baig by Hunza police.

Sample letter:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to you to voice my deep concern regarding the detention of the three political prisoners,

Baba Jan, Iftikhar Hussain, Amir Ali, Ameer Khan and Rashid Minhas

who are currently detained in Gilgit-Baltistan.

I have been informed that on the 28th of April 2012, a dozen Rangers and police forces entered the jail and severely tortured the three persons mentioned above, to the extent of humiliating them by shaving their heads. The next day, the three were kidnapped by the security forces and after many hours of uncertainty and fear, we learned that they had been shifted to sub-jail Zulfiqarabad, Gilgit. I was extremely shocked to learn that the Pakistani Rangers and police are committing such atrocities with total disdain for basic human rights.

I would like to remind you that Baba Jan, Iftikhar Hussain, Amir Ali, Ameer Khan and Rashid Minhas are all human rights defenders and have all been illegally detained for over 8 months in total violation of their fundamental rights. I therefore urge you to immediately petition your government to protect their rights and to drop the fake charges that have been brought against them.

The only crime of these five citizens has been to support the just demands of the victims of the Attabad Lake disaster in the Hunza valley. It is a well-known fact that on the 11th of August, 2011, while the population of Hunza valley was holding a peaceful protest in support for the affected families, the police opened fire on the protesters murdering Afzal Baig (22 years old), and his father Sher Ullah Baig (50 years old) who was trying to protect him. Instead of arresting the culprits, the police proceeded, in the days following the double murder, to a wave of arrests in an attempt to silence those who protested against this heinous crime. Dozens of citizens of the Hunza valley were arrested and the three mentioned in this letter have not been released until now. According to my reliable source of information, they have repeatedly been subjected to different forms of torture during these eight months of detention.

I am appalled by the case of these three human rights defenders and I strongly condemn their illegal detention and torture as well as the complicity of the Pakistani state. I request you to insist on the immediate release of these three political prisoners.

I urge the Pakistani government to adhere to its treaty obligations to protect all human rights defenders in accordance with international human rights standards.

Yours sincerely,

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