The National Lawyers Guild is part of the campaign to free Issa Amro, a Palestinian human rights defender active with Youth Against Settlements (YAS) in Hebron. He is facing 18 charges by an Israeli military court for participating in and leading popular demonstrations against the settlements.
However, on September 4, Issa was arrested by the Palestinian Authority for posting on Facebook and his detention has been extended repeatedly; he faces a secret trial for simply expressing his opinion on social media. As CODEPINK noted, “Following the PA’s arrest of journalist Ayman Qawasmi, Issa wrote on Facebook: ‘Yes to freedom of opinion and expression. We are living in a quasi-state, and it must respect the freedom of opinion and expression, that’s what its international commitments require. It must defend freedom of opinion and expression.'”
Amnesty International has called for Issa’s release and many organizations in the coalition to free Issa are organizing campaigns to demand his release by the PA. Even nine members of Congress signed a letter to urge the PA to release him. You can take part in some of the actions below:
- From CODEPINK: Issa’s family is not allowed to visit him. They are not even allowed to attend his court hearings. International diplomats, media and supporters are banned. The PA says it will be a secret trial. Human rights groups and the UN are calling for Issa to be released. Nine members of Congress have sent a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas calling the charges baseless and asking for Issa’s release. Freedom of speech should be commended, not criminalized. Tell the Palestinian Authority to release Issa immediately.
- From Amnesty International: Issa Amro is also currently facing trial before an Israeli military court for his role in organizing protests against Israeli discriminatory policies and settlements in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank – which violate international law. Amnesty International believes that the charges against Issa Amro are baseless and stem solely from his peaceful activism. “The fact that both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities are harassing Issa Amro in connection with his peaceful activism illustrates just how much the space for freedom of expression for human rights activists is shrinking – they are under attack from both sides,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.
- From Youth Against Settlements – Sign the Petition: Dear President Mahmoud Abbas, We demand you immediately release Human Rights Defender Issa Amro from arrest by Palestinian security forces. Issa’s Facebook post criticizing the PA for the arrest of a journalist should be recognized as a protected for of freedom of expression. We are joining the call from the UN, Amnesty International and numerous human rights groups. Free Issa Amro!