Protesters in Sofia seek results, action in the case of Omar Nayef Zayed


The Palestinian community in Sofia, Bulgaria protested outside Sofia’s central courthouse on Friday, 1 April, calling for urgency in following up the case of Omar Nayef Zayed, the former Palestinian prisoner found dead in the Palestinian embassy on 26 February.

Nayef Zayed, 52, had taken refuge inside the embassy from an Israeli extradition demand being carried out by Bulgarian police in December 2015. Nayef Zayed had lived in Bulgaria for 22 years after escaping Israeli imprisonment in 1990 and fleeing Palestine. He was married, with three children, and an active member of the Palestinian community; he was a permanent resident of Bulgaria, while his wife and children are Bulgarian citizens.


Nayef Zayed’s wife, Rania, and three children participated in the demonstration, as did Mohammed Khatib of Samidoun Europe, urging that the medical report and autopsy report on the death of Nayef Zayed be quickly released. To date, no official report has been released, nor have any conclusions from the criminal investigation been reported.

Palestinian political forces have denounced his killing, and highlighted the Israeli intelligence agency’s historic and present role in assassinations of Palestinian leaders and activists inside and outside Palestine, especially those who have been declared “wanted” by Israel. He was found in the garden of the embassy after being pushed or falling from a height; there were no security cameras or security guards in the building.

They have also emphasized the reaction of the embassy and of the Palestinian Authority to Nayef Zayed’s case, including repeated attempts to pressure him to leave the embassy, denying him visits, and threatening to prevent Rania from seeing him, during his time in the embassy.

Next weekend, 8-9 April, is the date of a call to action for international protests on Nayef Zayed’s case; events are scheduled in New York, Berlin and elsewhere.

Photos: Mohammed Khatib