Photo: Lama Khater

The Ofer Israeli military court extended the detention of Palestinian writer and journalist Lama Khater from al-Khalil for the seventh time in a row on 23 August 2018. Khater, 42, has been jailed since 24 July 2018, when Israeli occupation forces stormed her family home.

She is one of a number of women from al-Khalil who has been recently targeted for arrest and harsh interrogation, including al-Khalil city council member Suzan Owawi. She is also one of a number of Palestinian journalists and writers who have recently been arrested, including Alaa Rimawi and Ali Dar Ali. She was taken immediately to interrogation in Ashkelon detention center in an attempt to pressure her to confess to the allegations against her, specifically “incitement” for writing about politics on news sites and social media and membership in a prohibited organization.

Khater has been deprived of sleep, threatened and harshly interrogated for hours at a time while shackled to a chair. The Israeli occupation forces stated that they are preparing an indictment against her. She is married and the mother of five children, the youngest of which is only two years old.

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Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins the call of Palestinian journalists for greater global solidarity against the ongoing attacks of the Israeli occupation.  We demand freedom for Lama Khater and all imprisoned Palestinian writers. 

From the International Federation of Journalists to Reporters without Borders, international voices who are concerned with human rights of reporters have a responsibility to defend Palestinians facing colonial imprisonment for reporting the reality of apartheid, colonization and injustice. The imprisonment of Palestinian journalists can also not be separated from the killing of Palestinian journalists like Yaser Murtaja and Ahmad Abu Hussein in Gaza in the Great March of Return.

The attacks on Palestinian journalists – including student journalists – also underline the importance of the boycott of Israel, including the cultural and academic boycott. So long as Palestinians – including Palestinian journalists – are not free, the Israeli state and its associated institutions must be isolated by people of conscience and human rights defenders around the world. Freedom for all Palestinian prisoners – Freedom for Palestine!