Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its solidarity with Dr. Ahmed Shehadeh after Panamanian immigration authorities at Tocumen International Airport detained and deported Shehadeh, the head of the Brazilian-Palestinian Institute (Ibraspal), on Thursday, March 16. The Panamanian officials confiscated and held his Brazilian passport while he was transiting at the airport on his way to the second conference of the Palestinian Federation of Latin America, taking place between 17 and 19 March in Barranquilla, Colombia, Ibraspal’s vice president, Sayid Marcos Tenório, said.
“Shehadeh was interrogated by Panamanian intelligence agents, possibly with the participation and support of U.S. and Israeli intelligence,” Tenório said. “The state of Panama is under American occupation. American and Israeli intelligence are targeting anyone working against imperialist Zionist policies.”
Palestinian community sources in Brazil reported that extensive contacts took place with the Brazilian authorities, as Alexandre Padilha (Minister of Institutional Relations), Paulo Pimenta (Federal Deputy) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs intervened, as did the representative of the Brazilian Embassy in Panama, communicating with the Panamanian authorities until Shehadeh returned to Brazil after his deportation, where his passport was returned to him at Brasilia airport.
Shehadeh was detained and interrogated for many hours before he was told that Panamanian immigration authorities were deporting him back to Brazil rather than allowing him to continue his journey to Colombia and the Palestinian conference taking place there.
Rawa Alsagheer, Palestinian activist and member of Samidoun Network in Brazil, denounced the action of the Panamanian authorities. “This reflects a Zionist and U.S. attempt to target and disrupt the organizing of Palestinians in exile in diaspora, especially in Latin America,” she said.
Brazilian media and social media widely reported on the news of Shehadeh’s detention and deportation, and many Brazilian and Palestinian organizations denounced the Panamanian action. The Panamanian Committee in Solidarity with the Palestinian People also condemned the immigration authorities’ actions.
Brazilian organizations and parties are planning to visit Shehadeh to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people and their rejection of the Panamanian authorities’ decision to prevent him from participating in the Palestinian Federation of Latin America’s conference.