Friday, 15 January
Bulgarian Mission to the United Nations – 11 E 84th St, NYC
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1120440681314044/
Organized by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Omar Nayef Zayed, Palestinian former prisoner and community leader, is being threatened with extradition from Bulgaria and return to Israeli prisons. After 22 years living in Bulgaria, raising three children with his wife, the Israeli state has requested that Bulgaria extradite Omar – who was sentenced to a life sentence in Israeli military courts in 1986, escaping from custody in 1990 after a 40-day hunger strike, and arrived in Bulgaria in 1994. Join us as part of a global week of action for justice for Omar Nayef Zayed!
Israel has requested Omar’s arrest and extradition from the Bulgarian government under the European Convention on Extradition, to which both states are parties. However, the Convention explicitly excludes “political offenses” from such extradition proceedings – and Omar’s case, tried in Israeli military courtswhich convict 99.74% of Palestinians, is, like that of all other Palestinian prisoners, a political matter of the struggle for freedom of the Palestinian people, not a “criminal offense.” Indeed, Palestinian prisoners jailed at the same time as Omar have nearly all been freed – not due to their sentences ending, but due to a series of political agreements and exchanges between the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Israeli state – further underlining the political nature of the imprisonment of Palestinians. Sinn Fein parliamentarians from Ireland have urged Bulgaria to reject the extradition request on this basis.
Despite a raid on his home, Omar has taken refuge in the Palestinian embassy in Sofia. He is demanding to stay with his wife and family in Bulgaria, and calling on the Bulgarian government to reject the extradition request. “I must carry on this struggle, on behalf of all Palestinian prisoners, not just myself. It is my responsibility,” Omar said. Indeed, his case has significant repercussions for Palestinians in Europe generally, especially former prisoners and veterans of the struggle.
Please take action to help demand justice for Omar Nayef Zayed!