Palestinian activist Salah Khawaja, the secretary of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions National Committee, the largest Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the BDS movement, was ordered by an Israeli military court to nine additional days in interrogation on Wednesday, 23 November.
Khawaja, 45, is also very active in the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall) and is a leader of the Palestinian National Initiative. He was seized in his home by Israeli occupation forces in a pre-dawn raid on 26 October. Since that time, he has been continually imprisoned and held under interrogation at the Petah Tikva interrogation center. No charges have been filed against him; he has been subject to harsh interrogation and sleep deprivation. He was prohibited from seeing his lawyer until the prior renewal of his interrogation, on 16 November. Khawaja reported the various forms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which he has been subject, including interrogators beating him, kicking his genitals and screaming and spitting in his face. He has been regularly subjected to 8-16 hour interrogation periods on a daily or twice daily basis.
An appeal hearing will convene at the Ofer Military Court on Sunday, 27 November, against the renewal of Khawaja’s interrogation period. Reportedly, he may be moved to the Ofer prison.
Front Line Defenders, Unadikum and Stop the Wall have issued calls for action in support of Khawaja and urging international attention to support this case of a Palestinian human rights defender targeted for his activism.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins in the call for action in the case of Salah Khawaja and demands his immediate freedom. We urge international action in support of Salah and all imprisoned Palestinians.
1. Participate in the Front Line Defenders action, urging the Israeli state to immediately release Khawaja and end its persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders. Join in here: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/action/take-action-salah-khawaja
2. Participate in the Stop the Wall action and send the sample letter to your government officials to demand they speak up about the case of Salah Khawaja and other human rights defenders. http://stopthewall.org/2016/11/11/freesalah-send-message-your-governments-now
3. Demand your country’s officials speak up and end the silence and complicity in the detention of Salah Khawaja and other Palestinian human rights defenders, and over 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners. Call your foreign affairs officials – and members of parliament – and urge action on this case.
Call during your country’s regular office hours:
- Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop: + 61 2 6277 7500
- Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion: +1-613-996-5789
- European Union Commissioner Federica Mogherini: +32 (0) 2 29 53516
- New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully: +64 4 439 8000
- United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson: +44 20 7008 1500
- United States President Barack Obama: 1-202-456-1111
Tell your government:
- Salah Khawaja, a Palestinian human rights defender, has been arbitrarily detained since 26 October and subject to cruel and inhumane treatment potentially amounting to torture. Salah is one of the primary Palestinian voices against the illegal settlements and wall destroying Palestinian land.
- Your government must demand Salah’s immediate release and an end to the persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders by the Israeli state.
- Israel’s interrogation of Salah at Petah Tikva violates the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians during Times of War, which prohibits the transfer of protected civilians to the territory of the occupying power. Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians during Times of War, which prohibits the transfer of protected civilians to the territory of the occupying power.
- The government must do more than express concern, but should also take serious measures to end these violations. Representatives of your government should attend Salah’s hearings beginning on 27 November, and suspend agreements with Israeli institutions involved in the ongoing imprisonment and oppression of Palestinians.