Amnesty International (AI) was founded in the UK in 1961, and grew quickly in the 1970s. The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for its outstanding contributions to world human rights. Secretary-general Martin Ennals visited Taiwan twice in 1969 and 1970 in his search for information on political prisoners, and brought the political prisoner list compiled in the detention center to the outside world.
From the left, Chen Chu, Tien Chu-Chin, Japanese Professor sent by AI, and Yu Deng-fa. In the mirror was Linda Gail Arrigo, who took this picture in 1979 during the trial of Yu Deng-fa.
Between 1975 and 1979, AI sent numerous people to Taiwan to uncover the facts of the political court cases and to observe trial proceedings, and maintained close contact with overseas information sources (such as Lynn Miles). AI sent the finding of the human rights investigations from its headquarters to its branches around the world, mobilizing the power of its members to write letters and send care packages to political prisoners, and to carry out publicity activities to pressure Taiwan’s government to release the prisoners. Letters and packages sent by AI were received by prisoners at Green Island, Taiyuan and Chingmei.
Given AI’s international reputation, it was difficult for the KMT government to deny or refute the human rights investigation reports published by AI. AI rescued numerous political prisoners in Taiwan, including Annette Lu, Yao Chia-wen, Chen Chu, Bo Yang, Shih Ming-teh, Lin Yi-hsiung and Huang Hua. Political prisoners given life sentences in the 1950s were deemed “prisoners of conscience” by AI, receiving sponsorship and care from human rights advocates worldwide.