The Israeli occupation Ofer military court reimposed the original prison sentence of life plus 18 years against Palestinian prisoner Nael Barghouthi. Barghouthi has spent 36 years in Israeli prison and is the longest-held Palestinian prisoner.
He was released in October 2011 as part of the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange with over 1,000 fellow Palestinian political prisoners. He was re-arrested by Israeli occupation forces in June 2014 alongside dozens of former prisoners released in the exchange; under Israeli military order 1651, former Palestinian prisoners released in an exchange can have their former sentences reimposed on the basis of “secret evidence” at the discretion of an Israeli military commission.
While nearly 60 Palestinian prisoners had their original sentences reimposed, mostly on the basis of association with members of “prohibited organizations” – otherwise known as every major Palestinian political party – Barghouthi was sentenced to 30 months in Israeli prison. At the time of his release, he had been the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner after 34 years of imprisonment. He has now served 36 years in Israeli prison.
On 17 December, Barghouthi’s 30-month sentence expired, yet he was denied release on the basis of an appeal filed by the Israeli military prosecution calling for the reimposition of his original life sentence plus 18 years. He was originally imprisoned on the basis of participating in a commando operation with fellow Fateh fighters that killed one Israeli settler near the illegal West Bank settlement of Halamish.
Barghouthi’s wife Iman Nafie, a fellow former prisoner who he married after his release in 2011, and his lawyers filed appeals demanding his release, which was denied by the military court. Now, Barghouthi’s original sentence has once again been reimposed, while his family and lawyers have pledged to continue the struggle for his freedom and that of his fellow reimprisoned former prisoners.
The sentencing of Barghouthi is cast into particularly egregious relief coming only one day after the 18-month sentence meted out to Israeli occupation soldier Elor Azaria for deliberately murdering a captured Palestinian, Abdel-Fattah al-Sharif, after he had already been wounded and was laying on the ground, incapacitated.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network denounces the racist re-sentencing of Nael Barghouthi, part of a systematic policy that is holding re-captured former prisoners hostage in an attempt to pressure the Palestinian resistance through arbitrary detention of long-time strugglers for the Palestinian people. In New York City, Samidoun will rally on Friday, 24 February at 5:30 pm at Union Square outside the Best Buy at 52 E. 14th Street to denounce the reimposition of Barghouthi’s sentence and call for his freedom and that of all Palestinian prisoners. We urge all international supporters of the Palestinian people to take action and build solidarity with Nael Barghouthi and his fellow imprisoned Palestinian strugglers.
- Sign and share the Change.org petition to urge international officials to take action for Nael Barghouthi’s release: https://www.change.org/p/international-officials-pressure-israel-to-free-nael-barghouthi
- Organize a protest, demonstration, speaking event or banner drop in your city, community or campus calling for freedom for Nael Barghouthi and his fellow Palestinian prisoners.