The Arab Palestinian Democratic Union (UDAP) in Rome, Italy organized a demonstration outside the Bulgarian Embassy to Italy on Thursday, 21 January, demanding an end to all attempts to extradite former Palestinian prisoner Omar Nayef Zayed to the Israeli occupation.
Demonstrators gathered outside the embassy to demand Bulgaria protect, rather than extradite Zayed, a former Palestinian prisoner who escaped Israeli custody in 1990 after a 40-day hunger strike. Zayed has been living in Bulgaria for 22 years; his wife and children are Bulgarian citizens.
Omar’s brother Ahmad Zayed, living in Palestine, studied in Italy for years and sent a message to the demonstration in Italian, where it was read by activist Said Nassrawi.
In December 2015, the Israeli embassy in Sofia demanded Zayed be arrested by the Bulgarian police and sent to Tel Aviv for re-imprisonment. Though Bulgarian police raided his home, Zayed was not present; he is now taking refuge in the Palestinian embassy in Sofia.
The European Convention on Extradition addresses “criminal offenses” and specifically excludes political cases from its ambit; as noted by Sinn Fein parliamentarians, the National Lawyers Guild and others, Palestinian prisoners’ cases are inherently political. Protests in support of Zayed have taken place in Brussels, New York, London, Berlin, Ramallah, Gaza and more are planned in the future.
Ahmad Zayed’s message to the demonstration below, in English and Italian:
On behalf of my mother and all our family, I write to you from Palestine to tell you how happy and proud we are of you and of what you are doing to support the Palestinian cause, in general, and Omar’s case particularly.
I assure you that, Omar, from his refuge, knows what you are doing for him; he follows you proudly and he’s sure that with comrades like you by his side he shall be come out of this battle victorious and with his head held high.
Omar is not a criminal; he is a freedom fighter, he always has been, and he will continue to be forever.
Heartfelt thanks, with you at our side we will win.
Long live Palestine, long live solidarity.
Hasta la victoria siempre.
In the name of us all,
Nel nome di mia mamma e di tutta la nostra famiglia vi scrivo dalla Palestina per dirvi quanto siamo felici e orgogliosi di voi e di quello che state facendo sia per supportare la causa palestinese in genarle che quella di Omar in modo particolare.
Vi assicuro che, dal suo Refugio Omar è al corrente di quello che state facendo per lui e che vi sta seguendo con molto orgoglio ed è sempre più sicuro che con compagni come voi al suo fianco uscirà sicuramente vittorioso e a testa alta da questa battaglia.
Omar non è un criminale è un combattente per la libertà lo è sempre stato e lo sarà per sempre.
Grazie di cuore con vuoi al nostro fianco ce la faremo
Viva la Palestina
Viva la solidarietà
E hasta la victoria siempre
Nel nome di tutti noi