CAMPAIGN UPDATE & MEDIA MONITORING ALERT: Sheikh Obaid and Mustafa Dirani released; BBC Coverage

Islamic Human Rights Commission

29th January 2004

CAMPAIGN UPDATE & MEDIA MONITORING ALERT: Sheikh Obaid and Mustafa Dirani released; BBC Coverage fails to describe them accurately

1. Campaign Update: Prisoners of Faith Free At Last!

IHRC would like to congratulate all campaigners on the release today of Prisoners of Faith, Sheikh Abdul Kareem Obaid and Mustafa Dirani, who had both been kidnapped from their homes and held hostage by the Israeli Defence Force for the last fifteen and ten years respectively.

IHRC adopted these prisoners of faith in 1997 when it was set up. Previously part of the IHRC team arranged for international barristers led by the late John Platts Mill QC to investigate their detention. For more information on the IHRC campaign click on the links below.

They were released along with a number of other Lebanese and Palestinian detainees.

For an excellent resource page on Sheikh go to the Innovative Minds website which includes a photo report of the last vigil held to commemorate their abduction, articles on them, audio reports and interviews:

Read the article ‘Lebanon’s Forgotten Hostages’ written in 1997 on the IHRC website:

Alternatively, for other material, search the IHRC website for ‘Obaid’ , ‘Obeid’ or ‘Dirani’ by going to the IHRC website search engine at:

2. Media Monitoring: BBC News on-line describes Sheikh Obaid and Mustafa Dirani as ‘captured’

The article on today’s BBC News On-Line site ‘Middle East prisoner swap begins’
covers the story of the release. It describes Shiekh Obeid and Mustafa Dirani as:

“Two of the Lebanese prisoners being released in Germany are Hezbollah leaders Sheikh Abdel Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani, who were captured in 1989 and 1994 respectively.

Israel described them as bargaining chips for information concerning the whereabouts of Mr Arad.”

Sheikh Obaid and Mustafa Dirani were effectively held hostage. The use of the word ‘captured’ implies that they were taken prisoner during a military operation. In fact both men were abducted from their homes in Lebanon by the Israeli Defence Force and held for many years incommunicado without access to family, friends or legal representatives.

Please contact the BBC to complain that their choice of words are misleading. You can use the above as talking points. Please contact:

Malcolm Balen, Middle East supervisor


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\\\”And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.\\\”

Holy Qur\’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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