CAPE TOWN, October 28, 2013 (WAFA) – The global campaign to free Palestinian political prisoner Marwan Barghouti was symbolically launched on Sunday from the cell where Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader of South Africa, was held during his incarceration on Robben Island.
The Free Marwan Barghouti and All Palestinian Political Prisoners international campaign was launched by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, which opposes apartheid and calls for release of political prisoners, along with the Palestinian Popular Campaign for the Freedom of Marwan Barghouthi.
Israel arrested Barghouthi, a member of the Palestinian parliament, in 2002 and sentenced him to five life sentences plus 40 years in 2004 after it convicted him of responsibility for the killing of Israelis and heading the armed Fatah group, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
The campaign was launched on the 24th anniversary of the release of Ahmed Kathrada after serving 26 years in prison for fighting against the then apartheid state of South Africa. He also was the initiator of the first Free Mandela Campaign after Nelson Mandela’s arrest in 1962.
Kathrada said that an international committee which will include five Nobel Peace Prize Laureates will champion the campaign for the freedom of Barghouthi and all Palestinian political prisoners.
“The launch of the international campaign and the establishment of the High Level Committee follows my visit to Palestine earlier this year,” said Kathrada. “I believe the international community has a moral, legal and political responsibility to secure the freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian political prisoners. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have experienced imprisonment at a certain point in their lives. Some of these prisoners have spent over 30 years in Israeli jails,’ he said.
Following the Robben Island launch, there will be public events in Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg and other places around the world, announced the Kathrada Foundation.