Toast to freedom by Sidmouth Amnesty group

East Devon Amnesty joins worldwide celebrations to mark 50th anniversary of Amnesty International’s campaign for freedom of speech

THERE was a toast to freedom in Sidmouth on Saturday.

Members of East Devon Amnesty joined worldwide celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International’s campaign against torture and oppression and in defence of freedom of speech, opinion and religion.

Before the toast, at a member’s garden in Manor Road, 50 letters and cards were written in support of prisoners of conscience.

Amnesty was founded by British lawyer Peter Benenson on May 28, 1961 after he was outraged to read of two Portuguese students being imprisoned for making a toast to freedom.

He wrote an article The Forgotten Prisoners about the plight of these and other political prisoners being held purely for their beliefs and opinions, and so started a worldwide movement.

The East Devon Amnesty group meets on the third Thursday evening of each month at Twyford House, Sidmouth, and all are welcome.

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Current campaigning includes two ‘disappeared’ students in Pakistan, and women’s rights to education and healthcare in Afghanistan.

For more information call Maureen Thurlow (01395) 513171 or Angela (01297) 680297.