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From the field

B'Tselem: Hamas must release Gilad Shalit immediately and unconditionally

B'Tselem today (25.06.09) repeats its demand that Hamas release Gilad Shalit immediately. The circumstances of Shalit's capture three years ago and the behavior of his captors clearly indicate that he is legally a hostage. Hostage taking is absolutely prohibited under international humanitarian law, and is defined as a grave breach of the Geneva Convention.

The leadership of Hamas is obligated to release Shalit immediately and unconditionally. Until he is released, those holding him must grant him humane treatment, allow him to be in contact with his family and allow representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit him. 

 The denial of Shalit's right to these visits constitutes a blatant violation of international law, and casts doubt over claims that Shalit's wellbeing has been maintained.