On Wednesday June 26th, the UN’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we held a midday vigil in the Priory.
Our Rector, Revd Nicholas Mercer, is a trustee of a charity called REDRESS. He was invited to join REDRESS IN 2011 after leaving the Army on account of his stance for Prisoners of War. REDRESS was founded by Keith Carmichael, who was detained, without charge, in Saudi Arabia from 1981 to 1984 and tortured in prison. As a result, his spine was severely fractured and he suffered other grave injuries. Following his release, Keith established a specialist NGO, non governmental organisation, that would assist survivors of torture obtain justice and reparations. As a result, REDRESS was established in 1992 and is now one of the most respected NGO’s in this field. Sadly, torture is a global phenomenon, and today REDRESS is active in many different parts of the world, having over 60 active cases and projects in around 40 countries worldwide including in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the Americas. REDRESS supports victims of torture such as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian mother who still remains arbitrarily imprisoned in Iran. Every year on 26 June, REDRESS joins survivors and human rights organisations from across the globe to mark the United Nation’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
During the vigil, attended by a wide range of people from different communities and faiths, periods of silence were interspersed with testimony from torture victims and with other readings.