In the latest attack on Palestinian human rights defenders, Israeli occupation forces arrested Nasser Qaws, director of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in Jerusalem, on Sunday, 5 June.
Palestinian lawyer Mufid al-Haj said that Qaws was being interrogated about allegations of “incitement,” in the Palestine Information Center. Qaws has been targeted for arrest and detention on multiple occasions by occupation forces over the years.
Palestinian human rights defenders – including those who work on the cases of Palestinian prisoners – have been repeatedly targeted for arrest, persecution, and imprisonment. In addition to Qaws, prominent recent examples include Palestinian journalists’ syndicate leader Omar Nazzal; Palestinian journalist and human rights defender Hasan Safadi; Addameer vice-chair and Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar; imprisoned land defender and advocate Samer Arbeed, held without charge or trial; civil society leader Eteraf Rimawi, executive director of Bisan; and repeatedly targeted prisoners’ advocates like Ayman Nasser of Addameer and Osama Shaheen of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies.
The charge of “incitement” is frequently being used to target activists and community leaders, among students, academics and others; over 150 Palestinians have been arrested over social media postings termed “incitement” on Facebook; among others, prominent Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi is now being charged with “incitement” on social media after a successful campaign to end his administrative detention without charge or trial.