Ayman Nasser, legal unit coordinator of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, was once again arrested by Israeli occupation military forces at 1:30 am on September 18, following a raid by armed soldiers on his family home in Saffa, outside Ramallah, in the West Bank. Take action today to demand freedom for this Palestinian human rights defender under attack.
Nasser’s wife reported that “at 1:30AM, a large number of IOF raided our house while we were sleeping. We woke up to the sounds of heavy knocking on the front door and my husband, Ayman, rushed to open the door. Around 15 soldiers raided the house and started yelling at me and my children, demanding us to move to the living room. Six soldiers, including one female soldier, pointed their weapons at us while we waited in the living room. Half an hour later, a military officer identified Ayman and took him outside the house. Ayman returned with the officer after ten minutes, and said goodbye to us.”
Nasser has previously been imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces on two separate occasions. He was previously arrested on 15 October 2012 and spent 39 days under interrogation in Al-Moskobiyeh detention center in Jerusalem. He was blindfolded and shackled through much of this interrogation period for up to 10 hours at a time. He subsequently received a 13 months sentence and a 15 month suspended sentence for four years, in addition to 4000 NIS fine, convicted in military courts for his participation in prisoner advocacy activities, namely demonstrations in support of Palestinian prisoners and against Israel’s assassination policy. When addressing the military court, he said,“I believe that every human being has opinions and positions and if it’s not violating the law he can freely think and speak these opinions. I am a human rights defender who supports the Palestinian prisoners and I represent my opinions in the public media. My thoughts are not secret, they are public, and everyone knows them.” Nasser was released on 21 October 2013. Nasser was also arrested in 1992 and received a six year sentence. He was released on 27 October 1997.
In an interview with Electronic Intifada, Mourad Jadallah, Nasser’s colleague at Addameer, stated that he anticipates that the Israeli military courts will sentence Nasser to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.
Nasser, 44, holds a masters degree in Social Psychology of Education and previously lectured at Al-Quds Open University. He is the founder of Handala educational center in his village of Saffa, which is an educational center established in 1999 and is focuses on arts, athletics and education. He was also elected as a member in the Municipal Council in Saffa village while he was still in prison. Human Rights Watch, the National Lawyers Guild and other organizations around the world condemned his detention. Nasser is married and has four children.
Addameer notes that “Nasser is a human rights defender and actively works on human rights issues and prisoners affairs. Nasser’s arrest is a clear violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Human rights defenders are formally defined as persons who work peacefully for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nasser clearly falls within the category, in that his activities are peaceful in nature and aimed at the promotion of human rights.”
The protection of human rights defenders is an individual and collective right and responsibility, as recognized by the United Nations and enshrined in such key international covenants as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. States have the responsibility to protect these rights, as well as to affirmatively implement human rights. In the case of Israel, not only is it maintaining an illegal military occupation, it has a long record of persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders, including arrests, detentions, travel bans and harassment. Front Line Defenders, an international organization dedicated to human rights defenders, has taken up Nasser’s case.
1. Take action and demand freedom for Ayman Nasser! Sign the letter here (text by Front Line Defenders) and send it to Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, demanding Ayman’s immediate release.
2. Take action for Palestinian prisoners: protest at an Israeli consulate or embassy, or hold an educational event as part of the October 17-25 days of action for Palestinian prisoners. Share this alert for Ayman Nasser.
3. Distribute and post this poster in solidarity with Ayman Nasser (PDF). Help spread awareness and raise the profile of Ayman Nasser and Palestinian political prisoners in your community.
4. Join the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions. Isolate Israel for its mass political imprisonment of Palestinians. Boycott products like HP and SodaStream, and demand an end to security contracts with G4S, which operates in Israeli prisons. Learn more at bdsmovement.net.