By staff reporter
COMEDIAN Ed Byrne is one of the famous personalities lending their support to Amnesty’s latest campaign – to get prisoners of conscience home this winter.
He joins actresses Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman and adventurer Bear Grylls in a call to get behind the new global Help Get Them Home campaign.
The campaign highlights the plight of prisoners held behind bars and often tortured simply because they have spoken out against the authorities in their countries. Amnesty hopes to get those unjustly imprisoned back with their families. The public can get involved by send a text message to sign a petition demanding the release of prisoners of conscience in India, Iran and Indonesia.
Ed Byrne said: “I am proud to have a long association with Amnesty. People should be free to express themselves and to hold governments and other powerful bodies to account without fear of arrest. But thousands of people all over the world are not with their families today because they’ve been locked up simply for speaking out against the authorities in their countries.
“In comedy it is taken for granted that you can speak your mind and that’s why I am backing this campaign. It is one quick text, but it could make a world of difference.”
Amnesty UK director Kate Allen, who has roots in County Offaly, said: “It makes a real difference to people all over the world who are in prison and tortured simply for exercising their rights to free speech or expression to know that they haven’t been forgotten and that there is a global community demanding their release and standing up against repression. Please do get involved with this campaign.”
The celebrities have been photographed holding a hashtag to encourage the public to take action and share stories.
One of those is that of Soni Sori, 37, an Indian schoolteacher and mother of three. Soni is a peaceful indigenous rights activist who works to protect her community and in 2011 she was jailed, without a trial, on false charges of aiding Maoist groups, where she has been tortured with electric shocks and violently sexually assaulted by police.
Help Get Them Home, devised with advertising agency Leo Burnett, will aqlso be seen as an ad campaign on the London Underground, in overground trains, through social media and in national newspapers.
For more see www.helpgetthemhome.com.