Sign the letter to President Abbas and Fateh Central Committee Dr. Mohammed Shtayyeh: Drop the charges against Palestinian Human Rights Defender Issa Amro!
Dear President Abbas and Dr. Mohammed Shtayyeh,
It is appalling that the Palestinian Authority is putting Human Rights Defender Issa Amro on trial for peacefully voicing his opinion.
On Thursday 28 March, 2019 Amro will appear in PA court for a Facebook post from 2017 in which he said that the Palestinian Authority should not be arresting journalists criticizing the government. For this Amro is facing up to two years in prison and a fine.
Amro is well known for his human rights work to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and remove the fanatical and violent illegal settlers from Hebron. But last month, rather than supporting Amro, Fatah released a press statement urging civil society organizations in Hebron to boycott Amro and his colleagues at Youth Against Settlements, warning those who don’t abide that they would face retribution.
Amro has received death threats on social media and over the phone from supporters of Fatah, such that he fears for his life and personal safety. The PA has also threatened those close to Amro that they must stop working with him Amro and Youth Against Settlements (YAS).
It is shocking that the PA and Fatah, rather than supporting Amro’s work against the occupation and for the protection of his own people, are threatening and prosecuting him. This is shameful and counter to the international values of freedom, justice, and equality.
Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International Saleh Higazi said of the PA’s prosecution of Amro:
“It is disgraceful that Issa Amro is facing a prison term simply for expressing his views promoting human rights online. The Palestinian authorities should drop all charges against him immediately. Criticising an official should never be a crime. If imprisoned Issa Amro would be a Prisoner of Conscience.”
Amro is charged with disturbing “public order” under Palestine’s draconian Electronic Crimes Law, “causing strife” and “insulting the higher authorities” under the 1960 Jordanian Penal code, still enforced in the West Bank.
We call on your as president of the Palestinian Authority to immediately see that all charges are dropped against Amro and see that his safety, and the safety of Youth Against Settlements and everyone working with them, is protected. We also call on you to see that the PA and Fatah support Amro and Youth Against Settlements nonviolent work to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and human rights abuses endured by the Palestinian people.