Issa Amro was released on bail from Palestinian Authority detention on Sunday.
The co-founder of Youth Against Settlements in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron had been arrested on 4 September for criticizing the PA’s earlier detention of Palestinian journalist Ayman al-Qawasmi.
According to Youth Against Settlements, Amro was beaten during interrogation. He was kept in a tiny, filthy cell and no family, media or international diplomats were allowed to attend his 7 September hearing in a PA court.
Amro thanked international supporters after his release:
“This case represents more than simply a gross violation of the freedom of expression, it tells us all as Palestinians that the PA, our supposed government, values it own survival and prestige over the rights of its people,” the prisoners rights group Addameer said.
Amro still faces charges under the so-called Electronic Crimes Law, a decree issued by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas that since July has imposed even tighter restrictions on what opinions Palestinians are allowed to express.
Amro is already facing trumped-up charges in an Israeli military kangaroo court, part of Israel’s effort to halt his unarmed resistance to its violent colonization of his home city.
I told The Real News that the arrest of Amro – as well as of al-Qawasmi, whose Minbar al-Hurriya radio station Israeli forces violently raided and shut down days before his arrest by the PA – is part of a much bigger crackdown by Abbas.
The PA was supposed to exist for a short time, during a transition to Palestinian independence that was widely expected to be complete by the late 1990s. Instead, I told host Aaron Maté, “what we have in effect is a permanent status of a non-independent Palestinian Authority that functions as the subcontractor of Israeli occupation.”
Watch the video of my interview at the top of this article or read the transcript at The Real News website.