Controversy at Amnesty
Padraig Reidy: a row over allegiances and whistleblowing has erupted at Amnesty
08 Feb 10

Martin Bright points us to the story of Gita Sahgal, head of the gender unit at Amnesty International’s international secretariat. Saghal raised concerns about Amnesty’s link to to Moazzem Begg of Cageprisoners, an organisation she feels carries a religious right agenda anathema to Amnesty’s.

In an email to her colleagues at Amnesty on January 30 she wrote:
“I believe the campaign fundamentally damages Amnesty International’s integrity and, more importantly, constitutes a threat to human rights. To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment.”

Saghal has now been suspended, pending an internal investigation by Amnesty.

You can read her statement here.

You can read Amnesty’s statement here.

In an interesting twist, Begg is now threatening to refer the Sunday Times journalist who originally wrote about Saghal’s concerns, to the Press Complaints Commission.

More to follow as the story develops.

By Padraig Reidy

Padraig Reidy is the editor of Little Atoms and a columnist for Index on Censorship. He has also written for The Observer, The Guardian, and The Irish Times.