Basel Ghattas ordered to 10 days house imprisonment as prisoner support persecution continues

Basel Ghattas, ’48 Palestinian and Member of Knesset, was ordered to 10 days in house imprisonment on Tuesday, 27 December on a bail of 50,000 NIS ($13,000 USD) by the Israeli Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court. He was prevented from traveling abroad or meeting with imprisoned Palestinians for 180 days but retained his right to vote in the Knesset. The police had asked for him to be subject to house imprisonment for 45 days.

Ghattas, of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) or Balad party, is being pursued by Israeli occupation authorities on charges of providing cellular phones to imprisoned Palestinian political prisoners, who are frequently denied the right to communicate with their families and political organizations. A frequent visitor to imprisoned Palestinians, he was arrested last Thursday. On Friday, his detention was extended until Monday, and then again until Tuesday morning.

The hearing was attended by dozens of Palestinian leaders in ’48 Palestine, including Jamal Zahalka, MK Haneen Zoabi, NDA president Awad Abdel Fattah, as well as Ghattas’ family members. He is represented by lawyers Lea Tsemel, Salim Wakim and Namir Idlibi, and a number of lawyers from Palestine ’48 attended the court in solidarity with Ghattas. Meanwhile, crowds outside protested demanding Ghattas’ freedom.

In addition, Israeli forces seized Asad Daqqa, 51, the brother of imprisoned Palestinian Walid Daqqa, who has spent over 30 years in Israeli prisons. Ghattas is accused of giving the cell phones to Walid Daqqa. Asad Daqqa’s detention was extended for three days.

Speaking to Arab 48, Ghattas said as he went to his home that “this case has been from its outset a political persecution and comes in the framework of the political harassment of Arab citizens…It is clear that our work, including my work on the issue of the prisoners, especially the prisoners of the inside, is a duty and a humanitarian issue of conscience that must not be given up despite the cost or consequences.”