Alan Johnston petition hits 100,000 mark

More than 100,000 people from around the world have added their names to the petition calling for the release of kidnapped BBC Gaza correspondent, Alan Johnston.

The petition was launched on 2 April in The Guardian, when 300 leading figures from the journalistic community called for Johnston’s release.

A wide range of correspondents, editors and presenters from the UK and abroad were among the signatories.

As well as the 100,000 petition signatures, some 6,000 people have posted messages of support for Johnston on the BBC News website.

Johnston, who has been working in Gaza for three years, is the only Western journalist permanently based in the region.

He was last seen on the afternoon of 12 March, when he was seized at gunpoint on his way home in Gaza City.

Johnston joined the BBC World Service in 1991, and has spent eight of the past 16 years as a foreign correspondent including stints in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

A Scottish minister who knows Johnston’s parents has appealed across the religious divide for his release.

Reverend James Macfarlane urged those holding him, or anyone who knows the whereabouts of the missing correspondent, to do everything they can to secure his release.

He spoke of the resilience Johnston’s parents have shown since their son was seized. Despite being thrust into the media spotlight, the couple have maintained as normal a life as possible, he said.

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