The international days of solidarity with imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa’adat and his fellow Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails saw events, statements and actions in cities across North America, Europe and the Arab world. Over 60 organizations signed the collective statement and call for the days of action, which marked the 15th anniversary of Sa’adat’s 2002 arrest by the Palestinian Authority at the behest of Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Today, Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Palestinian leftist political party the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is serving a 30-year sentence in Israeli prison and is a leader in the Palestinian prisoners’ movement. He and his comrades were abducted from the PA’s Jericho prison, where they were held for over four years, on 13 March 2006, when the prison was attacked by armed Israeli occupation forces who demolished part of the prison and killed two Palestinian guards.
Participants in the Sa’adat actions urged international solidarity and pressure to release Sa’adat and his fellow 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and also demanded the end of the policy of “security coordination” under which the PA arrested Sa’adat. Samidoun and the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat worked together to organize the days of action; events were organized in 15 countries and 26 cities around the world, including the following:
Thursday, 12 January
On Thursday, 12 January, the days of action kicked off in advance with two events in New York City.
John Fletcher of Samidoun spoke to an event organized by the Workers World Party and International Action Center about Sa’adat’s imprisonment and the struggle of Palestinian prisoners.
Meanwhile, New York City Students for Justice in Palestine stood in solidarity with Ahmad Sa’adat and his fellow Palestinian prisoners at the first session of their Palestine Winter School at NYU.
Friday, 13 January
On Friday, 13 January the campaign kicked off in full force with multiple events around the world.
In New York City, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network organized a protest outside the Best Buy in Union Square, demanding freedom for Sa’adat and building the boycott campaign against Hewlett-Packard (HP); HP companies profit from the oppression and imprisonment of Palestinians and are subject to a global boycott campaign.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico in the US, Irish Americans for Socialism and Liberation organized a solidarity event at the South West Organizing Project, with information and materials about Sa’adat and fellow Palestinian prisoners.
In Brussels, Belgium, Secours Rouge and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network held a workshop and discussion on Ahmad Sa’adat and the struggle to free Palestinian prisoners at the new Local Sacco-Vanzetti organizing space. Khaled Barakat of the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat and Charlotte Kates of Samidoun spoke about the prisoners’ struggle and a video interview of Sa’adat was screened.
In Copenhagen, Denmark, the Internationalt Forum’s Middle East Group organized a night of solidarity with Ahmad Sa’adat and the Palestinian prisoners, screening a film on Leila Khaled and discussing the life and struggle of Sa’adat and his fellow prisoners.
In Toulouse, France, Coup Pour Coup 31 organized an information table at Jean Jaures metro station where they distributed information about the case of Ahmad Sa’adat, the case of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, and the struggle of the Palestinian people.
In Sour, Lebanon, Palestinian and Lebanese organizations protested outside the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross, raising Palestinian flags and demanding freedom for all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Speakers from a number of Palestinian and Lebanese political organizations urged the immediate release of Ahmad Sa’adat and his fellow Palestinian prisoners, urging Palestinian unity and international action for their release.
In Tunis, Tunisia, the Palestine Land Studies Center organized an exhibition and information table on 13 and 14 January about Ahmad Sa’adat, the Palestinian prisoners and Palestine as part of the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights. Activists provided information about the struggle of Palestinian prisoners.
In Damascus, Syria, Palestinians gathered in the headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for an event in solidarity with Sa’adat and fellow Palestinian prisoners. Former prisoner Ahmad Abu Saud spoke at the event.
Saturday, 14 January
International events continued widely on the second full day of the actions in solidarity with Sa’adat.
In Istanbul, Turkey, Tutsaklarla Dayanisma Inisiyatifi, the Solidarity Initiative with the Prisoners, organized a vigil at Galatasaray Square in downtown Istanbul, calling for the release of Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian prisoners. The demonstration also called for an end to Turkish normalization with the Israeli state.
In Galway, Ireland, Irish republican socialist organization éirígí organized an information table to demand freedom for Ahmad Sa’adat, distributing literature and materials about the struggle of Palestinian prisoners.
In Wicklow, Ireland, éirígí activists gathered to stand in solidarity with imprisoned Palestinian leader and PFLP General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat and Palestinian prisoners.
In Glasgow, Scotland, Revolutionary Communist Group activists and friends of éirígí set up an information table and displayed banners and Palestinian flags calling for freedom for Ahmad Sa’adat and fellow Palestinian prisoners. They chalked the streets and spoke through a megaphone, distributing information, and also joined Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign protesters outside Barclays bank demonstrating against its investments in Israeli military technology.
In Manchester, England, Boycott Israel Group activists picketed Barclays bank on Market Street, demanding freedom for Palestinian prisoners and urging the boycott of Barclays bank for its investment and profiteering from British and Israeli war technology.
In London, Revolutionary Communist Group and Samidoun supporters organized two actions to demand freedom for Sa’adat and his fellow Palestinian prisoners. In Brixton, South London RCG held a street meeting, distributing literature and raising awareness about the campaign to free Palestinian prisoners.
In Whitechapel, East London RCG spoke over a public sound system about the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners and distributed campaign materials.
In Hilton Head, North Carolina in the US, Hilton Head for Peace organized a vigil in solidarity with Sa’adat and his fellow Palestinian prisoners, calling for an end to US involvement in the oppression of Palestinians.
In Brussels, Belgium, Intal organized a Palestine Brunch with performances and talks by members of Raj’een Palestinian Dabke Troupe. Mostafa Awad of Samidoun and Raj’een and other members of the troupe performed and visited various tables, speaking about Palestine, the situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Palestinian political prisoners.
In Milan, Italy, Fronte Palestina and the Colettivo Contro la Represion joined a rally outside the Opera prison on 14 January against the use of solitary confinement, including imprisoned leftists. They distributed information about the struggle of Palestinian prisoners and the case of Ahmad Sa’adat while joining the broader demonstration against the system of repression and incarceration in Italy, as well as the “Fortress Europe” border “security” initiatives leading to death and deportation for refugees.
In Florence, Italy, Fronte Palestina also engaged in leafleting about the case of Ahmad Sa’adat and the struggle of Palestinian prisoners while joining a demonstration marking the anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli 2008-2009 war on Gaza.
In addition, in Padova, Italy, Fronte Palestina displayed banners in solidarity with Ahmad Sa’adat as well as appearing on a radio program to discuss the case and the struggle of the prisoners.
In Vancouver, Canada, activists with the International League of Peoples’ Struggle gathered to stand in solidarity with Ahmad Sa’adat and his fellow Palestinian prisoners. In addition, the ILPS Canada chapter issued a solidarity statement in support of the campaign to free Sa’adat.
Sunday, 15 January
On Sunday, 15 January, while international officials and politicians convened in Paris to promote a “two-state solution” while ignoring fundamental Palestinian rights, events and actions demanded freedom for Palestinian prisoners.
In Berlin, Germany, the Democratic Palestine Committees-Berlin organized a Palestine contingent in the Liebknecht-Luxemburg-Lenin march, which drew over 15,000 leftists to demonstrate on the 98th anniversary of the execution of German revolutionary leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Participants carried Palestinian flags and signs demanding freedom for imprisoned strugglers including Ahmad Sa’adat and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. Ghazi Hamad of the Democratic Palestine Committees spoke about the Palestinian struggle at the central rally.
In Paris, France, a number of organizations, including the Unified Campaign to Free Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, gathered to demonstrate at Ménilmontant Metro station. Protesters carried Palestinian flags and signs demanding freedom for Sa’adat and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, imprisoned in French prisons for 32 years.
In Derry, Ireland, Member of European Parliament Martina Anderson joined Derry Sinn Fein to demonstrate for freedom for Ahmad Sa’adat and Palestinian prisoners as well as Irish republican prisoner Tony Taylor.
In Waterloo, Canada, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement International Office opened on Sunday evening, 15 January. The opening event included a presentation by Aiyanas Ormond of ILPS Canada on the case of Ahmad Sa’adat and the struggle of Palestinian prisoners for freedom.
Monday, 16 January
On Monday, 16 January, in Gaza City, Palestine, the PFLP and its Prisoners Committee organized a large rally in support of Sa’adat and the Palestinian prisoners in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza. Speakers, banners and signs called for freedom for Sa’adat and fellow Palestinian prisoners, while Sumoud Sa’adat, the daughter of Ahmad Sa’adat and an activist for Palestinian prisoners, addressed the participants with a recorded message from her home in Ramallah. She saluted all of the Palestinian prisoners and people around the world participating in these events, with a special salute to Georges Ibrahim Abdallah.
On Wednesday, 18 January, the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat will hold an event in Ramallah, Palestine, featuring Mahmoud Fanoun and lawyer Muhannad Karajah, speaking about the experience of Palestinian imprisonment in Israeli jails.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat thank all of the organizations and activists that participated in these days of action and look forward to continuing to work together and struggle until the freedom of Ahmad Sa’adat, all Palestinian prisoners and the land and people of Palestine.
The statement for the week of action follows, with the list of endorsers:
January 13-15, 2017 marks the 15th anniversary of the seizure of Palestinian political leader, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat, by the Palestinian Authority under the policy of “security cooperation,” at the behest of Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom. Today, after a 2006 attack on the Jericho prison by Israeli occupation forces, Sa’adat is serving a 30-year sentence in occupation prisons, convicted in a military court of leading a prohibited organization and incitement.
Ahmad Sa’adat is a leader of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and a leader of the Palestinian national liberation movement, held behind bars with 7,000 fellow leaders of the Palestinian people. There are thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, on the front line of the struggle for freedom. In the past year, over 6,000 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli occupation forces. These Palestinian political prisoners are the leaders of resistance to occupation, targeted for their role in refusing racism, colonialism, apartheid and occupation.
The imprisonment of Ahmad Sa’adat and his fellow Palestinian political prisoners is aided and assisted by the complicity of international states and major corporations. The United States and United Kingdom guarded Sa’adat in a Palestinian Authority prison and cleared the way for an Israeli attack, ensuring Sa’adat and his comrades came under fire. And the political, military and economic support these and other states, including the European Union and Canada, provide to the Israeli occupation allows the continued imprisonment and extrajudicial execution of Palestinians with impunity. Further, corporations like Hewlett Packard (HP) profit from the imprisonment of Palestinians by selling their services to the Israeli Prison Service.
On January 13-15, 2017, we join in a collective call for international action for the freedom of Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian political prisoners. We demand an end to the internationally-mandated policy of Palestinian Authority “security coordination” that undermines the Palestinian struggle for freedom. And we urge the escalation of the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the Israeli state and complicit institutions and corporations, including HP, to create, as Sa’adat said, “a real economic cost for the industries of colonization.”
We echo the call to organize events, actions and protests in cities, town squares, campuses and public spaces to break the isolation of the prisoners, and demand freedom now for Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian political prisoners.
Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Handala Center for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners
Palestinian Prisoners’ Committee
Coup Pour Coup 31
International Red Aid / Secours Rouge International
Collectif pour la Libération de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah – Paris
32CSM International Department
Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (National)
Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Alternative Information Center
ANPI Torre del Greco
Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR)
Association Switzerland Palestine
BACBI (Belgian Academic and Cultural Boycott)
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (Israeli citizens for BDS)
Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver
Cátedra de Estudios Palestinos “Edward W. Said” – Facultad de Filosofía y Letras- UBA
Communist Party (Sweden)
Corvallis Palestine Solidarity
Demokratische Komitees Palästinas – Berlin
Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands
Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Global Campaign for Palestinian Political Prisoners (GCPPP)
Groupe Non-Violent Louis Lecoin
Hilton Head for Peace
ILPS in Canada (Country Chapter)
International Action Center
International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Internationalt Forum – Middle East Group
International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
Jewish Voice for Peace, San Diego
Justice for Palestine Matters
Le Cri Rouge
Middle East Crisis Response
Mouvement Citoyen Palestine
National Jericho Movement
National Students for a Democratic Society
NYC Students for Justice in Palestine
Ölümsüzlerin ve Tutsaklarin Sesi Platformu
Pakistan USA Freedom Forum
Partido Comunista de España
Red Sparks Union
Revolutionary Communist Group
Solidarity with Novorossiya & Antifascists in Ukraine
The New Jewel Movement
Union juive française pour la paix (UJFP)
Unione Democratica Arabo Palestina (UDAP) – Italy
United National Antiwar Coalition
Vlaams Socialistische Beweging