Dozens of award-winning comics and writers, are to lead a campaign during this month's Edinburgh festival to free five civil rights activists jailed in the United Arab Emirates.
Comedians, writers lead Amnesty campaign to free jailed UAE activists
More than 70 comedians, novelists and writers have signed up for an Amnesty International campaign during Europe's largest arts festival, urging the United Arab Emirates to unconditionally release five men imprisoned this year for demanding greater democracy.
Amnesty, which is celebrating its 50th year, said there was a clear and explicit link between the Edinburgh festival and freedom of expression, and the human rights group's activities.
'It is one of our core issues. It's central to all our work,' John Watson, the director of Amnesty International Scotland, said.
The London-based human rights group is asking audiences at Amnesty's fringe and Edinburgh international book festival events to add their names to a global petition using text messages or postcards protesting at the UAE detentions.
It has already supported a petition circulated in the UAE which challenged its ruling families to open up membership of the Emirates' federal council and believes the case of the five activists detained in Abu Dhabi, is significant because they were arrested before the Arab spring revolts erupted across north Africa and the Middle East.
The festival, held over four weeks, is a collection of official and independent festivals held annually, including the largest performing arts festival in the world.