- Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to the government official listed below. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
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Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh
Email: [email protected]
On 19 July, 19 anti-corruption activists were arrested by Palestinian forces for holding a peaceful protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Sixteen of these activists are charged with “illegal gathering” and “violating the emergency rules,” 10 of them remain in detention, including, Fayez Swaity, Jihad Abdou, Ali Abu Diab, Musa al-Qasiya, Amer Hamdan, Usama Khalil, Mohammad Azzam, Firas Brewish, and Jamil Abu Kbash. On 22 July, the Ramallah Magistrate Court extended their detention for 15 more days. Amnesty International believes that the activists have been detained arbitrarily. According to the lawyer, 10 of the activists are on hunger strike. Jihad Abdou and Jamil Abu Kbash were transferred to the Ramallah Medical Complex due to deterioration of their health as a result of the hunger strike. Their lawyer visited them on 23 July and said that Jihad Abdou is guarded by armed police who sometimes shackle him to his hospital bed despite his deteriorating health. The lawyer was prevented from seeing Jamil Abu Kbash.
The activists are currently held in a detention facility in the Ramallah Police Directorate. Amnesty International reiterates its concern that the state of emergency put in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic must not be used as a pretext to clamp down on peaceful public criticism of the government or arbitrarily restrict human rights. Any measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic must respect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Palestinians, whose rights have been routinely crushed by Israel’s occupation, shouldn’t also be facing human rights violations at the hands of their own government.
I urge you to immediately ensure that all charges against these activists are dropped and that they are immediately released, as they have been detained solely for their peaceful activism; ensure that no detainee is punished for being on hunger strike; and that authorities allow peaceful public criticism of the government and not place unwarranted restrictions on peaceful assembly, including in the name of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.