Longest-serving Palestinian prisoner Nael Barghouthi said that he and the other re-arrested prisoners of the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange will “reject any proposal relating to their deportation,” according to a Palestinian Prisoners Society lawyer who visited him at Gilboa prison on 9 February.

Barghouthi, 59, from the village of Kobar in Ramallah district, emphasizes that the dozens of former prisoners – many of whom have had their original sentences reimposed by a secretive Israeli military committee in violation of their exchange deal – will only accept their freedom, and return to their families.

Serving a life sentence, Barghouthi was one of the over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners released in the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange in 2011 after 34 years in Israeli prison. In 2014, he was among dozens of freed prisoners rounded up by Israeli occupation forces in an attempt to pressure Palestinain resistance organizations; many of their sentences were reimposed on the basis of secret evidence and vague allegations of “connections with prohibited organizations,” including every major Palestinian party. Barghouthi’s sentence was not reimposed; instead, he was ordered to 30 months in prison, which ended on 17 December 2016.

The military prosecution appealed this sentence and is calling for the reimposition of his original sentence; this appeal has been sitting before the secretive commission since 2015 without any ruling. Despite his lawyer’s and family’s appeal for his freedom, he was denied release as the committee considers his case and he has been repeatedly moved from one prison to another.

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network are joining in this urgent call for action to pressure Israel to release Nael Barghouthi, being held as a political hostage by the Israeli government.

TAKE ACTION:

  1. 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
  1. 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.
  1. Write to Israeli officials to demand Nael Barghouthi’s release. Write a message and email or fax it to the officials. Details available here: http://samidoun.net/2017/01/take-action-urgent-call-to-free-nael-barghouthi-longest-held-palestinian-prisoner/