“Don’t Jail This ‘Palestinian Gandhi'”

Posted on May 31, 2017

Just Foreign Policy

Issa Amro in 2015. Credit Hazem Bader/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As Peter Beinart reports in the Forward [1], Hebron’s Issa Amro has been preaching nonviolent resistance in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr for almost two decades. Amro’s organization, Youth Against Settlements, frequently hosts Israeli activists. Amro has won awards from the UN and the EU. Amro doesn’t just oppose violence, he’s gone to extraordinary lengths to stop it.

In retaliation for his advocacy of nonviolence, Beinart reports, Amro faces 18 criminal charges. If convicted, he’ll likely serve a long prison sentence. Amnesty International notes, “Some of the charges … are not recognizable criminal offences under international standards.” [2] The changes include incitement, protesting without a permit and “insulting a soldier.” Amro also faces two charges of assault. Amnesty calls these allegations “baseless,” noting, “One of the charges of assault refers to an incident … that took place after he had already been arrested and was therefore not present.” [3] Amro faces trial in a military court where the conviction rate exceeds 99%. [4] As the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reported in 2015, “A Palestinian charged in a military court is as good as convicted.” [5]

Reps. Mark Pocan, Betty McCollum, Earl Blumenauer and Keith Ellison are circulating a letter urging Secretary of State Tillerson to defend Amro’s “rights to due process, freedom of expression and peaceful protest.”

Urge your Rep. to sign the Pocan letter by signing our petition at MoveOn.

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References:
1. http://forward.com/opinion/israel/373119/why-israel-should-embrace-this-
2. https://www.amnestyusa.org/files/uaa27816.pdf
3. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/11/israel-opt-drop-baseless-charges-against-palestinian-human-rights-defender/
4. http://www.haaretz.com/nearly-100-of-all-military-court-cases-in-west-bank-end-in-conviction-haaretz-learns-1.398369
5. http://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20150622_presumed_guilty

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