Israel marks four years of `cruel` Shalit captivity

Human Rights Watch demanded that Hamas end its "cruel and inhuman treatment" of Gilad Shalit.

Updated: Jun 25, 2010, 18:28 PM IST

Jerusalem: Human Rights Watch on Friday
demanded that Hamas end its "cruel and inhuman treatment" of
Gilad Shalit as Israel marked the fourth anniversary of the
soldier`s captivity at the hands of the Islamist movement.

"Hamas authorities are violating the laws of war by
refusing to allow Shalit to correspond with his family," the
New York-based group HRW said, adding that the young soldier`s
prolonged incommunicado detention "may amount to torture."

Thousands of yellow balloons were to be released across
Israel for the anniversary, a candle-lighting ceremony was
planned in Tel Aviv and a major newspaper distributed yellow
ribbons to its readers.

Amid growing public backing in Israel for a prisoner
exchange deal with the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas,
demonstrations of support for Shalit also have been held in
several capitals this week, including Rome and Paris.

On Sunday, the Shalit family accompanied by thousands of
supporters will set off on a march from their home in northern
Israel to Netanyahu`s Jerusalem residence, a distance of about
200 kilometres (120 miles.)

Shalit, then a 19-year-old corporal, was captured by
Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in a deadly
cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip on June 25, 2006.

He is believed to be held in Hamas-ruled Gaza, where he
has had no contact with his family or the International
Committee of the Red Cross.