Amnesty International Severs Ties with ‘Rights Group’ CAGE

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Amnesty International, the leading human rights group based in the UK, has severed all ties with the self-described ‘advocacy’ group CAGE after the latter's senior represenatative made statements describing the ISIS executioner "Jihadi John" in a positive light. 

Amnesty was originally founded in 1971 to support ‘prisoners of conscience’ around the world and victims of torture and since then has broadened its remit to become one of the world’s leading human rights organizations.

After the revelations broke of CAGE’s relationship with Jihadi John, the terrorist responsible for the beheadings of several hostages in the Islamic State’s slick propaganda videos, they decided to address the issue directly.

CAGE Research Director Asim Qureshi gave a televised interview in which he described Jihadi John as “the kind of person that you would want our society to have.”

A statement on the Amnesty International website by UK director Kate Allen read:

“Amnesty no longer considers it appropriate to share a public platform with CAGE and will not engage in coalitions of which Cage is a member.

“Recent comments made by CAGE representatives have been completely unacceptable, at odds with human rights principles and serve to undermine the work of NGOs, including Amnesty International.”


Prior to severing ties, Amnesty International had campaigned alongside CAGE on issues relating to Guantanamo Bay, where CAGE founder Moazzam Begg was detained as an inmate. In December 2014, Amnesty co-signed a letter with CAGE “calling for an independent, judge-led inquiry into UK complicity in torture.”

Gita Sahgal, the former head of Amnesty International’s gender unit, was critical of Amnesty’s record of support CAGE, knowing their extremist history.

She was fired in 2010 after voicing her objections in The Sunday Times to working with CAGE saying, “To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban Begg, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment.”

At the time author and staunch Islamism critic Sir Salman Rushdie slammed Amnesty over the affair, saying “it looks very much as if Amnesty's leadership is suffering from a kind of moral bankruptcy, and has lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong.”

Regarding the latest controversy, Sahgal criticized again Amnesty’s relationship with CAGE, saying “Amnesty International's long relationship with Cage and other Islamists damages the credibility of their research and their ability to make informed decisions on campaigning and partnerships. There is no sign that they have actually understood this – they are simply responding to media pressure and thinking it will all blow over.”

For its part, CAGE has done nothing to ameliorate its Islamism since it began to be criticized.

On March 11th it co-signed a letter with Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir and the extremist-linked Islamic Human Rights Commission.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is openly committed to establishing a global Islamic caliphate that implements sharia law.

The letter condemned the British government’s new counter-extremism policy claiming that it “threatens a 'McCarthyite' witch-hunt against Muslims” and branding as “unacceptable” the use of “politically charged words like 'radicalisation' and 'extremism.' ” 

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David Harris

David Harris is the editor in chief of Clarion Project.