Palestinian human rights defender and activist with Youth Against Settlements in Al-Khalil Issa Amro has been hit with 18 charges in an Israeli military court relating to his participation in demonstrations against settlements and Israeli occupation forces in his city.
These charges reach from 2010 to 2016 and cover a wide range of activities, such as organizing demonstrations, entering a closed military zone and “incitement,” the catch-all charge commonly used in Israeli military courts related to any form of Palestinian speech contrary to the occupation. He faces one to three years in Israeli prison, especially facing military courts with an over 99% conviction rate.
Amro’s work is well-known internationally; he has been repeatedly arrested and then released shortly thereafter by Israeli occupation forces.
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“In our occupied city, we don’t have any basic rights…everyone is a target. Every single stone and tree here is a target for the Israeli occupation,” said Amro. Amro’s military trial is scheduled to begin on 25 September (he is released on bail).
There is an emerging international campaign in support of Palestinian human rights defender Issa Amro. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is a participant in this campaign alognside many international organizations.
1. Sign the online petition to US Secretary of State John Kerry to demand action and accountability on the case of Issa Amro and other Palestinian human rights defenders.
2. Sign the online petition to UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Ra’ed Zeid al-Hussein to demand international action on this case.
The following statement was sent to al-Hussein by a wide array of international organizations, coordinated by Scales of Justice:
Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson 52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland
Urgent appeal on behalf of Youth Against Settlements (YAS) coordinator Issa Amro
Date: 21 September 2016
Dear Mr. High Commissioner,
The undersigned organizations and individuals are writing to you to express their concern about the case of Palestinian Human Rights Defender (HRD) Issa Amro, who will be tried in an Israeli occupation court on 25 September 2016 for specious charges that place him under imminent risk of imprisonmen.
Issa Amro is an EU recognized HRD and coordinator of Youth Against Settlements who has won the OHCHR award “Human rights Defender of the year in Palestine 2010.” Issa Amro is well-known by the UN and has been in Geneva several times, where he met with officials from the OHCHR, offered presentations during side-events at the UN, and delivered oral statements before the Human Rights Council.
The recent charges brought by the Israeli government against Issa Amro are the latest in a series of attempts by the Israeli authorities to punish him for his effective advocacy for his people Over the years he has been arrested, detained, threatened and beaten numerous times, and almost daily he receives death threats from side of the Israeli army and settlers alike. Already in 2013 a group of United Nations independent human rights experts warned that “Israel must stop harassment, intimidation and abusive treatment of rights defender Issa Amro”
Despite these warnings Issa Amro continues to be targeted. In December 2015 several United Nations independent experts expressed “grave concerns at continued reports that human rights defenders particularly in Hebron in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), are being subjected to physical attacks, harassment, arrest and detention, and death threats, in an apparent bid by Israeli authorities and settler elements to stop their peaceful and important work.”
Although none of the 18 charges against Issa, dredged up from incidents between 2010 and 2016, is serious in itself (e.g. incitement, entering a closed military zone, organizing illegal demonstrations) and include incidents the UN has already expressed concern about, the sheer number of charges might lead to a sentence between one and several years. It is further feared that Issa Amro will be taken into custody at the start of the trial on 25 September 2016.
The undersigned organizations and individuals believe that Issa Amro is being unfairly targeted because of his human rights activities. His case stands symbolic for the systematic reprisals against HRDs by Israel in the oPt that requires your immediate attention.
We call on you to urge Israeli authorities to drop the trumped up charges against Issa Amro, to end their systematic harassment against him, and to take all necessary measures to guarantee his protection and safety as well as guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in the West Bank are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals.
Albertville Jourdain Vallée Solidarité
Alliance of Jewish Progressives
American Friends Service Committee
Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS)
Center for Jewish Nonviolence
Dr. Curtis FJ Doebbler, Professor of law (visiting), University of Makeni, Sierra Leone
Prof. Dr. Richard Falk, Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Princeton University and former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine
Friends Of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
Geneva International Center for Justice (GICJ)
Human Rights Defenders Fund
Interfaith Peace Builders
International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN)
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
Jewish Voice for Peace – Atlanta Chapter
Jewish Voice for Peace- Austin Chapter
Jewish Voice for Peace – Los Angeles
Jewish Voice for Peace – North Bay Chapter
Jewish Voice for Peace – Pittsburgh
Jewish Voice for Peace – Central Ohio
Jewish Voice for Peace – So Florida
Jews for Justice for Palestinians
KURVE Wustrow – Center for Training and Networking in Nonviolent Action
National Lawyers Guild
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP)
Scales for Justice
The International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
Youth Forum Kashmir (YFK)