The campaign was launched by the veteran South African ANC politician Ahmed Kathrada. Back in the 1960s Kathrada founded the first campaign to Release Mandela and was then jailed himself and spent many years on Robben Island. He returned to Mandela’s cell on Robben Island to launch the campaign to Free Marwan Barghouthi with Fadwa Barghouti, Marwan’s wife.
Momentum is now growing behind the campaign which is supported by all the Palestinian political parties and human rights organisations and by the overwhelming majority of Palestinians as well as a constellation of former prime ministers and Nobel prize winners.
To coincide with what should have seen the release of the fourth group of prisoners as part of the Kerry talks, we are launching a new pamphlet calling for the release of Marwan Barghouthi as part of the peace process.
In brief the pamphlet says:
The death of Nelson Mandela reminds us that often the first step towards the resolution of a conflict is the release from prison of a national leader who has the authority to unite, to negotiate and to resolve.
Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jomo Kenyatta are all examples of national leaders who were released by the British so that they could negotiate their countries’ independence. The pattern was repeated in South Africa when Mandela went from a prison cell to the presidents’ palace in just four years.
It will be twelve years on April 15th since Israeli security agents, posing as ambulance workers, seized Barghouthi and took him to an Israeli prison.
But even after 12 years in an Israeli jail Barghouthi remains one of Palestine’s most popular politicians – capable, according to the polls, of beating any other candidate for the presidency. Many believe he could come out of prison, stand for election, win the presidency, unite the Palestinian factions, negotiate a settlement, put it to his people, win their support and then preside over a process of “truth and reconciliation” in a newly-independent country.
Timeline of event
March 28: Publication of pamphlet entitled “Free Marwan Barghouthi” by Palestine Briefing. Copies will be available at the meeting or from firstname.lastname@example.org
March 29: Israel due to release final group of pre-1992 Palestinian prisoners as part of agreement with US Secretary of State John Kerry
March 30: Palestinian Land Day
April 1: Ahmed Kathrada visiting the UK, supporting the Free Marwan Barghouti Campaign
April 8: Foreign & Commonwealth Office questions
April 15: 12th anniversary of Marwan Barghouthi’s imprisonment
April 29: Final day of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry
Read the Free Marwan Barghouthi pamphlet now