Monday, June 21, 2010

"What solidarity means": a letter from Gilboa Prison

Ameer Makhoul, The Electronic Intifada, 21 June 2010

Ameer Makhoul is a human rights defender, the director of the Arab
nongovernmental organization network Ittijah, a leading voice of the
Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and a
Palestinian citizen of Israel. He has been in Israeli detention since
he was arrested from his family home in Haifa in the early morning
hours of 6 May. Initially his arrest could not be reported under an
Israeli gag order, and he was not allowed to see his lawyers for
almost two weeks. Eventually charged with "espionage," local and
international human rights organizations have condemned Israel's
actions against him as politically-motivated persecution intended to
crack down on organizing by Palestinian citizens within Israel and
international solidarity. On the very day Makhoul was arrested, The
Electronic Intifada published an article it had received from him
days earlier, titled,
" Israel's
repression of its Palestinian citizens unites us in struggle." He
wrote the following letter from Israeli detention on 30 May 2010:

After being allowed to get a pen and a piece of paper, which has been
banned for the last three weeks, and after being allowed to get out
of my total isolation, it's a moment to write a short letter from my
jail (Gilboa).

It's a great opportunity for me to express my sincere thanks,
greetings and appreciation to all the colleagues, friends and
solidarity groups, organizations and persons, internationals, Arabs
in the region, Israelis and Palestinians in the homeland and in the
Diaspora. A very special salute to all those who visited my family
and supported them after the trauma they passed on 6 May and since
that late night.

It's a moment to express my great appreciation to all the
international and local human rights organizations which raised their
voices loudly. Also to Ittijah's partner organizations all around the
world which supported my/our struggle for justice and for a fair
trial in order to get to prove my innocence.

Physically I am still suffering very much but morally it's a great
feeling to know what solidarity means.

My story is that the Israeli intelligence, the Shabak, assumed
something without knowing and without any evidence. I was requested
and forced to explain to them in a very detailed way how exactly I
did what I didn't do, ever. In case of any logical problem for them
to complete the puzzle, they have the legal tools to fill it in by
so-called secret evidence, which my lawyers and I have no legal right
to know about.

According to the media in Israel, I'm already guilty, a terrorist and
a supporter of terror. The rule of the game here is that I'm guilty
whether or not I prove that I'm not. This collective assumption is
prior to court and trial procedures. The abuse of evidence and fair
legal procedures are crucial. The Shabak can tell lies to the court
by so-called secret evidence, banning meetings with lawyers, banning
the publication of information, imposing total isolation and other
very sophisticated ways of torture, which leave no direct evidence
although it is very harsh (see Adalah
I believe that my case is an opportunity to examine these tools as
tools for the criminalization of human rights defenders.

I would like to highlight again your support and solidarity. I look
to it as a very essential and crucial message of support for the
victim and to stop the oppressor. Thank you. Let us continue with the
way for justice, human dignity, human rights and ensuring an
opportunity for a fair trial.


Ameer Makhoul

Related Links
* "
indicts tortured rights activist Ameer Makhoul," Jonathan Cook (27 May 2010)
* " Ameer
Makhoul's arrest is an assault on all Palestinians in Israel," Janan
Abdu, Issam Makhoul (26 May 2010)
orgs call on Israel to immediately release rights defenders,"
Euro-Mediterannean Human Rights Network, Front Line, International
Commission of Jurists, The Observatory for the Protection of Human
Rights Defenders (19 May 2010)
" of
Palestinian citizens recalls S. Africa apartheid repression," Adri
Nieuwhof and Bangani Ngeleza (19 May 2010)

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