Monday, February 28, 2005

THE TIMES ONLINE reports that Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International, has died. He was 83.

Although his father was an army colonel, Benenson was a rebel from an early age. At Eton, he worked to help children whose parents had died fighting Franco in the Spanish civil war; and raised money to help two young Jews in Nazi Germany escape to Britain. As a lawyer, he represented trade unionists, and he tried for years (unsuccessfully) to win office as a Labor candidate.

In 1961, Benenson founded Amnesty International after reading a newspaper article about two students arrested and imprisoned in a Lisbon cafe for drinking a toast to liberty. The organization he started now has 1.8 million members and supporters.

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