Will political arrest of Palestinian writer Ahmad Qatamesh be protested?

The Alternative Information Center reports that writer Ahmad Qatamesh was arrested in his family’s Ramallah home by Israeli occupation forces and transferred to the Ofer detention center in Beitunia in the occupied West Bank:

The Addameer-appointed lawyer who visited Qatamesh the day after his arrest stated that he was not interrogated and that he was informed instead that he would get an administrative detention order. This indicates that the Shabak, again, lack any evidence to build a case against him and proves that he was arrested indeed for his writings and peaceful activism and not any “security” reasons as was claimed by the Israeli authorities.

Qatamesh received his master’s degree and PhD from a Dutch university and in 1999 he was invited to participate in a conference on Palestinian political prisoners in the Danish Parliament (but Israel denied him the ability to travel). Will European civil society take action on his politically-motivated arrest?

Will the international groups and governments protesting China’s detention of artist and government critic Ai Weiwei protest the detention of Qatamesh with the same vigor? How many more political prisoners will it take? For example, Israel has detained civil society leader and boycott advocate Ameer Makhoul and convicted him of trumped-up charges of espionage based on a confession he made after being tortured.

Last year, EI contributor Adri Nieuwhof interviewed Sahar Francis, a human rights laywer and director of the Palestinian prisoner support group Addameer, about Israel’s arrest of grassroots activists organizing against Israel’s in the West Bank, and in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement:

Sahar Francis: “I think the policy of imprisonment that is used has been the same for a long time. It is used to put more pressure on the people who resist the occupation. The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign and the Stop the Wall have successfully raised a lot of international support. That is why there is a special attack on them. Israel is not happy with this international attention. The BDS and Stop the Wall campaigns inform the public about the occupation, and lead to the demand to end the occupation. Israel is so angry about the success. They want people to pay a high price for their involvement. It is not only imprisonment, but also harassment, house searches, creating problems when traveling abroad. Israel thinks it can break the soul of the people and the movement this way.”



Maureen Clare Murphy

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Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.