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NI: Alan Johnston abduction - Northern Ireland campaigners join Amnesty appeal, one month on

Palestinian Authority must increase efforts to secure BBC reporter’s release

Amnesty International supporters in Northern Ireland are sending ‘Urgent Action’ appeals on behalf of the abducted BBC television news reporter Alan Johnston, who is still missing in Gaza one month after being kidnapped by unidentified armed men.

The appeals are calling on the Palestinian Authority to redouble its efforts to ensure the immediate safe release of Mr Johnston, who has been held longer than any other journalist recently kidnapped in the Gaza Strip.

Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said:

“Journalists have been targets in Northern Ireland down through the years, most notably with the murder of Martin O'Hagan five years ago. That's why we are delighted that Amnesty members in Northern Ireland are joining in the worldwide appeal on behalf of Alan Johnston.

"President Mahmoud Abbas must take urgent steps to help secure his release.

“Mr Johnston’s abduction is an affront to everyone who believes in free speech. We want to see him safely released and his kidnappers brought to justice.”

Alan Johnston’s kidnapping and disappearance is the latest in a series of abductions and other acts of lawlessness in the region stemming from a long-standing problem of impunity and the failure of the Palestinian Authority government to ensure the rule of law.

More than 80 Palestinians have been killed during the past three months, including civilians, many of them in armed clashes between Palestinian armed groups and Palestinian Authority security force units aligned either with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party or the Hamas movement.

Kidnappings have also been rife but in previous cases journalists abducted have been freed unharmed usually within hours or a few days. As yet, no-one has been brought to justice for these abuses.

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