US Activists Arrested at Gunpoint by Pakistani Security Forces–Forced to Leave the Country
U.S. human rights activists Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry (of Los Angeles) were arrested in Lahore, Pakistan at 8:30pm on Wednesday, December 4 after attending a student rally at the Lahore Press Club. Upon leaving the Club in the company of several journalists, the car they were driving in was pulled off the road. Armed policemen jumped out of cars and motorcycles and surrounded their car, guns drawn. They forced the driver and journalists out, beat passers-by who were looking at the scene, and hijacked the car with Benjamin and Barry inside. They raced recklessly through the crowded streets of Lahore, endangering the lives of those in the car and outside. They took the two activists to the Race Course Police Station. Benjamin was roughed up by a woman police officer who was given orders to take away their cell phone.
Benjamin and Barry were never charged with anything and no reason was given for their brutal arrest. After four hours, a representative of the US Embassy appeared. The activists were allowed to leave in his custody, but are being forced to leave the country on Wednesday.
There's always something to criticize CP for — if for no other reason than that they do so *damn* much. But I admire Medea tremendously. She is a brave and determined woman. She's also smart and funny.
I'm sad that she wasn't able to follow through with her mission in Pakistan, but I'm glad she's okay. I wouldn't be surprised one day to learn that she has been killed on one of these trips.
There's a press conference Thursday AM after the arrive in NYC. I'll post an update here when I get any news.