On Thursday, 2 February, Palestinian Majd Oweida, 23, of Gaza City was sentenced to nine years in Israeli prison; he was accused of hacking into the Israeli military’s drone network, Israeli police street cameras and air traffic information at Ben-Gurion airport.
Oweida was seized by occupation forces at the Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing in February 2016 as he attempted to travel to the West Bank; he had previously received a permit for travel. As president of the Palestinian Talents Club, he had been contracted to create the program, “Palestinians Got Talent.” He had earlier managed the band al-Takht al-Sharqi, which reached the semifinals of the 2014 edition of “Arabs Got Talent.” Oweida, an electrical engineer, reported that he had been held in solitary confinement and subjected to ill-treatment during lengthy interrogation sessions.
Oweida’s family has been actively involved in campaigning for his release and have been denied family visits repeatedly. They issued a statement upon his sentencing saying that his imprisonment “is part of a systematic and continuous policy of the occupation against our people and especially against young people, forcing them into the dungeons of the prisons with the exploitation of the crossings in order to make them a trap for our young people.”