Imad Barghouthi, a Palestinian astrophysicist and professor at Al-Quds University, was suddenly denied release from Israeli prison on Sunday, 29 May, after “incitement” charges were filed against him by a military prosecutor. Barghouthi’s release had been ordered by an Israeli military court last Thursday, following an international outcry by prominent scientists, physicists and other academics.
Barghouthi is now being charged with “incitement” over alleged Facebook posts in support of Palestinian resistance. Barghouthi’s lawyer, Jawad Boulos, said in Electronic Intifada that at the hearing on Thursday, the military prosecution had stated they had “insufficient evidence” to charge Barghouthi, saying that the case “demonstrates to anyone who still needs proof that all of the ‘legal’ procedures established by the occupation forces … are flimsy and fake and give no heed to legal principles.”
Barghouthi had been held under administrative detention – Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial by military order – since he was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on 24 April. He was first ordered to three months, then two months detention, before his release was ordered Thursday at his appeal hearing. At the appeal, Boulos submitted the several petitions from international academics urging Barghouthi’s release. There are approximately 750 Palestinians held without trial under administrative detention; in addition, over 150 Palestinians have been arrested over allegations of “incitement” on social media.
Barghouthi was detained once before under administrative detention in December 2014; he was released early then due to another international outcry in the scientific and academic community.
Take action! It is critically important for people around the world to make their voices heard and demand the release of Imad Barghouthi and his fellow Palestinian prisoners. There is nothing more legitimate about military charges than there is in administrative detention. Both are part of one mechanism with one goal – controlling the Palestinian people at all costs and silencing those who resist and challenge occupation, racism and oppression.
1. Protest at the Israeli consulate or embassy in your area. Bring posters and flyers about the imprisonment of Palestinians, including academics like Imad Barghouthi, and hold a protest, or join a protest with this important information. Hold a community event or discussion, or include this issue in your next event about Palestine and social justice. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us of your action – we will publicize and share news with the prisoners.
2. Contact political officials in your country – members of Parliament or Congress, or the Ministry/Department of Foreign Affairs or State – and demand that they cut aid and relations with Israel on the basis of its apartheid practices, its practice of colonialism, and its numerous violations of Palestinian rights including the systematic practice of administrative detention and the injustice of military trials. Demand they pressure Israel to free Palestinian prisoners and end administrative detention. In the United States, call the Israel/Palestine Bureau at the State Department at 202-647-3930 and the White House – 202-456-1111. Demand action on Barghouthi’s case and an end to aid to Israel. In the UK, call UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Philip Hammond, MP, +44 20 7008 1500. In Canada, call Foreign Minister Stephane Dion: 613-996-5789.
3. Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. Don’t buy Israeli goods, and campaign to end investments in corporations that profit from the occupation. G4S, a global security corporation, is heavily involved in providing services to Israeli prisons that jail Palestinian political prisoners – there is a global call to boycott it. Palestinian political prisoners have issued a specific call urging action on G4S. Learn more about BDS at bdsmovement.net.