With Great Shock and Sorrow,Italian Activist ‘Vittorio Arrigoni’
You came to Gaza as no one did,
You helped the poor and the hungry you fed,
Women were killed and children were dead,
So, you swore to free the country you loved!
…And since you’ve gone,
We’ll complete what you’d begun,
We will go on,
We will put our hands together,
And free Palestine forever
A sketch by: Claudia Ferrara
~Restiamo Umani~ Stay Human
KAREM SAY: “I SAW YOU ONLY FEW TIMES, BUT YOU FIGHT AS PALESTINIAN AND LIVED OUR SUFFERING AND YOU LEAVE THE NICE WORLD AND CAME TO BE ONE OF GREAT PEOPLE, LIKE RACHEL CORRIE. WE WILL NOT FORGET YOU BROTHER VIK” OMAR KAREM
With great shock and sorrow,
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the murder of Italian activist, Vittorio Arrigoni. On Friday afternoon, 15 April 2011, Vittorio’s body was found in an building complex in the north of the Gaza Strip, following his murder at the hands of kidnappers. According to Hamas security forces, that are seen storming the building trying to free Vittorio from the hands of the “kidnappers”.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and its entire staff, gravely condemns this crime, which targets our inherent human dignity, and the values and traditions of the lawful struggle for freedom and justice. It is this human struggle which connects Gazan’s – locked behind the closed door of the Gaza Strip – with the outside world, and inspires countless individuals to stand as human rights defenders.
PCHR calls upon the government in Gaza to prosecute the perpetrators. Furthermore, all necessary measures must be taken to secure the safety of international activists in the Gaza Strip, without limit their freedom to exercise their humanitarian duties.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Thursday evening, 14 April 2011, a group named “Group of the Companion Mohammed Bin Maslamah” announced the kidnapping of the Italian journalist, Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, a prominent member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and a human rights defender. In a video posted on the Youtube website, the group demanded the release of detained members of the group, affiliates of the so-called “Salafist Jihadist Group”. The kidnappers threatened to kill Arrigoni if the government in Gaza did not meet their demands within 30 hours.
In a grave development, contrary to fundamental values shared by all Palestinians, the group carried out their threat. On Friday afternoon, 15 April 2011, security forces of Hamas found the body of Arrigoni in a house located in the ‘Amer project area, west of al-Karamah building in the west of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip. In his testimony, a PCHR staff-member reported signs of beating on the victim’s face, signs of handcuffs on his hands, and signs of strangulation around his neck.
The Ministry of Interior in Gaza issued a press release on Friday, condemning this heinous crime. It declared the arrest of two members of the group and the continued search for others.
Arrigoni had worked in Gaza since 2008, when he arrived on board the “Free Gaza” flotilla, organized to break the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip. He devoted himself to the defense of Palestinians’ rights, and participated in a number of activities against the closure, against violations committed by Israeli Forces against Palestinian civilians, particularly fishermen, and against the Israeli decision to impose a ‘buffer zone’ in the Gaza Strip. He was arrested by Israel forces on18 November 2008, while he was accompanying a number of fishermen off the shores of Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip. However, he returned to Gaza a few months later via Rafah International Crossing. Arrigoni was also in the West Bank for a few years before coming to Gaza. He has been known for his activity with the International Solidarity Movement.
PCHR reiterates its condemnation of this heinous crime, and:
1. Calls upon the government in Gaza to conduct an effective and prompt investigation to identify the circumstances of the crime, prosecute the perpetrators, and publish the investigations’ results;
2. Appreciates the role played by the International Solidarity Movement and other human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory;
3. Calls upon the international community, political powers and Palestinian people to condemn this crime and organize peaceful activities against it.
The events have not been clear since the beginning, there is clouds on the way the situation was managed by the security forces of Gaza. The whole world was expecting the release of Vittorio Arrigoni alive, there were signs that he will be safe and sound. Some tweeters were circulating about some journalist in Gaza lending themselves as a shields to secure the safety of Vik. By 1:30 PM PST the tweets were suggesting that security forces declined the offer of help of the journalists and they (security forces) will be trying to free Vittorio from the hands of the “kidnappers”.
The video by aljazeera showing the storming of the building where Vik was found dead shows no time. Will be very important to shed light to Vik murders to put time on that video. And the security forces of Gaza need to be clear in the way the situation was handle since the knowledge of the kidnap.
We know that this horrendous crime is the exception and not the norm in Gaza Strip, and Palestinians and the activists community assure the world that we wont stop our activities in Palestine. The goal is liberate Palestine altogether. No fundamental groups, radical minds or threats from Israel will deter us from continue the activities inside and outside Palestine to stop this inhumane Occupation.