The administrative detention order against Palestinian circus performer and trainer Mohammed Abu Sakha, 24, was renewed today, 13 June, for an additional six months. Abu Sakha was arrested and imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces on 14 December 2015 as he traveled from his home in Jenin to his workplace at the Palestinian Circus School, where he was nationally and internationally known for his circus performance and work with Palestinian children.
Abu Sakha was ordered to six months in administrative detention without charge or trial on the basis of the so-called “secret file,” secret evidence presented by the Israeli intelligence agency, the Shin Bet.
His case has become known around the world; as a circus performer and trainer with the Circus School, Abu Sakha, his work and his colleagues are internationally well-known and he had traveled through Europe as a Palestinian circus performer. Artists and circus groups internationally expressed their support for Abu Sakha with performances, songs and artistic exhibitions, while human rights organizations like Amnesty International petitioned in cities around the world for his release.
Abu Sakha’s support campaign organized protests in London, Brussels, Heidelberg, Madrid, Switzerland, New York, Toulouse, Sao Paulo and elsewhere, alongside Palestinian circus performers throughout occupied Palestine, demanding his release. Thousands of people around the world have signed online petitions and taken part in Amnesty International actions calling for his release.
Today, as his colleagues and students – and international friends and supporters – awaited his release, Abu Sakha was instead ordered to six additional months of imprisonment, without charge, trial, or evidence.
Abu Sakha is one of 750 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention in Israeli jails, and one of over 7,000 total Palestinian prisoners. Israel’s systematic use of administrative detention violates the Geneva Conventions and other international conventions and is used as a means of isolating effective and emerging Palestinian leaders.
The extension of the administrative detention of Mohammed Abu Sakha – alongside the administrative detention of Bilal Kayed, scheduled for release; Jerusalemite journalist and human rights defender Hasan Safadi; journalist and union leader Omar Nazzal; members of the Palestinian Legislative Council including Abdel-Jaber Fuquha, Hatem Kufaisha, Hassan Yousef and Mohammed Abu Teir; Bisan Center for Development executive director Eteraf Rimawi; Jerusalemite youth organizer Basil Abu Diab – amid hundreds upon hundreds more, indicate the level of Israeli state impunity to lock away Palestinian emerging leaders and prominent community figures without charge or trial. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have put their bodies and lives on the lines in extended hunger strikes to demand an end to administrative detention.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network condemns the administrative detention of Mohammed Abu Sakha and all detainees, demands the end of administrative detention, and freedom for all 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. We urge people of conscience around the world to join in actions to demand freedom for Abu Sakha and his fellow prisoners, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign to internationally isolate Israel, its institutions, and the corporations that profit from occupation, racism, colonialism and injustice.
Take action – join the campaign:
1. Sign the online petition calling for Abu Sakha’s release:https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Israeli_Defense_Forces_Free_circus_trainer_and_artist_Mohammed_Faisal_Abu_Sakha/
2. Take the action called for by Amnesty International:
- Amnesty UK (English): https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-palestinian-circus-performer-held-israel
- Amnesty Germany (German): http://www.amnesty.de/urgent-action/ua-012-2016/palaestinenser-ohne-anklage-haft
- Amnesty Spain (Spanish): https://www.es.amnesty.org/actua/acciones/israel-artista-circo-palestino-ene16/
3. Organize a protest performance – or a simple leaflet distribution – in your community. Hand out the “Free Abu Sakha” leaflets and help support freedom for an imprisoned Palestinian artist. Share it with Samidoun and the Free Abu Sakha campaign facebook.