Circus performer’s imprisonment without charge or trial extended; Palestinian intellectual’s administrative detention confirmed by military court

Photo: Toulouse protest to free Mohammed Abu Sakha

The imprisonment without charge or trial of Palestinian circus performer Mohammed Abu Sakha was extended for three months by Israeli occupation forces. Abu Sakha, who trains Palestinian children in circus performance at the Palestinian Circus School, has performed around the world with Festiclown and PCS, with which he has been affiliated since 2007. He has been imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces since December 2015, held without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Abu Sakha has received global widespread support from artists, circus groups, human rights advocates and Palestine organizers. His detention order expired on 11 June 2017; his lawyers from Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association had obtained an order limiting the renewal of his detention to a three-month period.

Solidarity efforts have continued for Abu Sakha; most recently, Pallasos en Rebeldia (Clowns in Rebellion) organized a solidarity action for Abu Sakha called #PeregrinaClown in which spokesperson Ivan Prado walked from Gijon to Santiago de Compostela, performing from city to city in support of Abu Sakha’s release. This followed a circus-themed solidarity hunger strike during the strike of Dignity and Freedom in May 2017, in which Abu Sakha refused food for more than 40 days with 1,500 fellow Palestinian prisoners.

Photo: Ahmad Qatamesh

In addition, the three-month administrative detention order against Palestinian intellectual Ahmad Qatamesh was confirmed by an Israeli occupation military court on 13 June. Qatamesh, 67, who has spent years in Israeli prison, including imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention, was seized by Israeli occupation forces on 14 May; the order was issued against him three days later.

Qatamesh was last released from imprisonment without charge or trial in December 2013 after two and a half years in Israeli jails. He was first seized by Israeli occupation forces in 1969 and again in 1972. After four years of imprisonment, he was living “underground” in occupied Palestine to avoid arrest. In 1992, he was seized once more by Israeli occupation forces and subjected to over 100 days of interrogation and torture. He was held for five and a half years in administrative detention without charge or trial. Amnesty International has joined numerous Palestinian and solidarity organizations in demanding freedom for this prisoner of conscience.

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation military courts issued 27 administrative detention orders since the beginning of the month of June, reported Palestinian lawyer Mahmoud Halabi on 15 June. The orders ranged from three to six months in length and included both new orders and renewals. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable; Palestinians can spend years in prison without charge or trial under renewed administrative detention orders. There are approximately 500 Palestinians currently imprisoned under administrative detention orders out of a total of 6,300 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. Since 1967, 50,000 administrative detention orders have been issued against Palestinians.

The orders included the following:

1. Ibrahim Jak Abdel-Mohsen, from Ramallah, 4 months, extension
2. Ahmed Abdel-Basit Abu Raya, from al-Khalil, 6 months, extension
3. Nadim Ibrahim Sabarneh, from al-Khalil, 6 months, new order
4. Ali Taqi Tawfiq, from Tulkarem, 4 months, extension
5. Sa’adi Mahmoud Khdeirat, from al-Khalil, 4 months, extension
6. Mohammed Ghassan Najdi, from Tulkarem, 4 months,extension
7. Hasan Hassanein Shawkah, from Bethlehem, 3 months, extension
8. Yazan Mohammed Shalbayah, from Ramallah, 3 months, extension
9. Oreib Walid Salem, from Ramallah, 4 months, extension
10. Ahmed Fayez Saadi, from Jenin, 4 months, extension
11. Abdel-Aziz Mahmoud Mubarak, from Ramallah, 4 months, new order
12. Mahmoud Kamal al-Razi, from Jenin, 3 months, extension
13. Omar Mohammed Baraka, from Jericho, 4 months, new order
14. Louay Sami Ashqar, from Tulkarem, 3 months, extension
15. Majdi Abdel-Qader Oweidat, from Jericho, 2 months, extension
16. Mohammed Faisal Abu Sakha, from Jenin, 3 months, extension
17. Osama Khaled Yamin, from Nablus, 3 months, extension
18. Awad Mahmoud al-Sakhra, from Bethlehem, 4 months, extension
19. Nasim Fadel al-Rifai, from al-Khalil, 6 months, new order
20. Khalid Mansour Abdel-Nabi, from al-Khalil, 3 months, extension
21. Muath Mohamed Saman, from Bethlehem, 6 months, new order
22. Bassam Abdel-Rahim Hamad, from Silwad, 4 months, new order
23. Hamoudeh Akram Jaber, from al-Khalil, 6 months, new order
24. Eyad Salameh Dabis, from Bethlehem, 6 months, extension
25. Sami Fayez Sirhan, from al-Khalil, 4 months, extension
26. Ahmad Sami Wardah, from Ramallah, 4 months, extension
27. Naji Hamdi Abu Khalaf, 3 months, extension