Letter: Forgotten prisoner

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The Independent Online
Sir: I recently had the privilege of meeting the wife, daughter and brother of Ron Arad, one of the saddest victims of the situation in the Middle East. He was captured as a prisoner-of-war in 1986 and has not been allowed to send - or receive - letters since 1987. His treatment as a POW is in sharp contrast with the provisions of the Geneva Convention. Why should a man be prevented from writing to his family? Why should a young girl be prevented from seeing up- to-date photographs of her father?

Recently Colonel Zezair Amar, a member of the PLO Delegation to the autonomy talks in Taha, has stated that Ron Arad is alive and is being held in Syria. Surely it is time for his captors to release him.

The release of hostages in the Middle East, such as John McCarthy, was kick-started by Israel's decision to release a large number of Arab detainees. There was an unwritten understanding that Israelis would be released. Instead, Israel received merely the remains of a Druze soldier.

Ron Arad has been a prisoner longer than any POW in the Second World War, kept in appalling conditions. It is time his ordeal, and that of his family, is ended.

Yours faithfully,

JOHN MARSHALL

MP for Hendon South (Con)

House of Commons

London, SW1

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