Issa Amro’s Trial

issatrialamerican1Palestinian human rights defenders Issa Amro and Farid al-Atrash faces charges in Israeli military court relating to their nonviolent activism and human rights work. Both will face time in prison if found guilty. At a hearing on 23 November their lawyer asked for a number of the charges to be dropped and the hearing was adjourned until 21 December.

The reasons for the trial have no substantial legal basis, but is an attempt to shut down any resistance against the occupation and the peoples rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

Issa Amro

• Well-known human rights defender in Hebron
• Founder and coordinator of Youth Against Settlements (founded 2007)
• Has engaged in nonviolent activism for 13 years
• Won the 2009 One World Media award for coordinating the B’Tselem camera distribution project.
• Was declared “Human rights defender of the year in Palestine” by the UN OHCHR in 2010
• Arrested 20 times in 2012 alone without being charged.
• In 2013 UN Human Rights Council expressed concern for Issa Amro’s well-being.
• Has spoken at the UN Human Rights Council regular session at three different occasions.
• Now faces 18 charges dating back to 2010.

Trial

To take place on 23rd of November. It was postponed from August 8 to September 25, and then postponed again. Some of the 18 charges date all the way back to 2010 and include charges such as verbal assault for calling a soldier “stupid.” The charges are trumped up. Issa Amro’s Israeli lawyer calls it political persecution.

Background for trial

September 22, 2015: Extrajudicial killing of Hadil Hashlamoun in Hebron. Documented by Youth Against Settlements (YAS).
October: More killings, many documented by members of YAS.
October 28: YAS spokesman Mohammad Zoghayer arrested and kept in jail for 30 days without charges before being released.
November 1st: IDF declares Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron a closed military zone. ISM Hebron are thrown out of their house as a result a couple of weeks later.
November 7th: IDF occupies YAS center for 24 hours and detains activists inside. Issa Amro is interrogated at gunpoint and threatened. The YAS center is raided and over $15,000 worth of media equipment confiscated (stolen) or destroyed.
November 27: IDF interrupts YAS meeting and arrests 16-year-old activist Ahmad Azza and accuses him of wielding a knife against a soldier. He is taken to a military base, beaten and blindfolded for the night, then brought to the police station. Issa Amro is arrested too after arguing with soldiers. YAS center is raided again. Issa is kept 4.5 hours blindfolded and handcuffed in military bathroom while soldiers threaten to shoot him. He is interrogated and released. Meanwhile, settlers come out from the settlement and surround the YAS center, keeping it under siege for 24 hours. IDF declares YAS center a closed military zone for the night and gets rid of settlers and Palestinians.
December 3rd: Ahmad Azza has been in jail for a week. Only due to pressure from YAS and his lawyer, a DNA-test is made of the knife. Ahmad is released, all charges against him dropped. Off-record, the investigator tells the father that the knife had belonged to one of the soldiers.
December 12: Closed military zone is expanded to include YAS center, only Issa Amro is allowed.
December: Breaking the Silence is under attack from Israel.
(late) December: Issa Amro arrested for allowing internationals into the YAS center.
January: Israeli activist group Ta’ayush is targeted after spies publish videos that lead to the arrest of several key members.
Closed military zone is continuously renewed.
January 7th: YAS’s sit-in tent in front of a main checkpoint begins and is upheld until Open Shuhada Street campaign. Sit-in is disrupted several times by military.
February: Open Shuhada Street campaign. IDF interrupts and tries to shut down several events.
February 26: Concluding Open Shuhada Street demonstration held in Hebron. IDF uses heavy-handed methods to suppress a demonstration that is nonviolent. Some are injured, Issa Amro stated that he felt he was specifically targeted. Journalist Farid Alatrash is arrested and kept in jail for a few days.
March 1: Issa Amro is arrested while talking to a delegation from Breaking the Silence. He is kept overnight in jail in bad conditions in Gush Etzion prison. He is accused of organizing illegal protests and of incitement on Facebook. He is released and told to expect an invitation to court.
March 24: IDF soldier Elor Azaria executes Palestinian on ground. Incidentally, this was the same soldier who accompanied Issa Amro for seven hours during his arrest. Incident highlights IDF’s change in policy from trying to arrest attackers to shooting first and killing them.
May 3rd: YAS start campaign to end closed military zone in Hebron in cooperation with ISM.
May 17th: Campaign is a success, and the order is lifted from the area.
May-June: Series of sit-in protest from YAS and Issa Amro to open up staircase that has been kept closed without a military order (to satisfy the settler community). A few Israeli activists from Ta’ayush are arrested.
July 15th: YAS launches cinema project in Hebron. Activists from YAS and Center for Jewish Nonviolence surprise the IDF and settlers by cleaning old factory next to settlement while singing peace songs. Police detains Palestinians, then declares the place a closed military zone. Six Jewish activists brought to the police station, released later while the rest protested outside.
August 4: Issa Amro receives an invitation to court for August 8. 18 charges against him, 38 witnesses. Some cases had been re-opened after being closed, and some charges date all the way back to 2010. Trial then postponed twice.

How you can help

  • Sign our two petitions: AVAAZ and JVP.
  • Share on social media the petitions.
  • Stand with human rights defender Issa Amro on twitter and other social media, use hashtag #IssaAmro and share thunderclap.
  • Share videos about the trial.
  • Share articles about the trial.

Videos about the trial

Articles about the trial

Other Articles

Articles about Issa Amro, the nonviolent work of Youth Against Settlements and Israeli forces way of discouraging nonviolent resistance.

Organizations standing with Issa Amro

Petition sent by organizations to UN High Commisioner of Human Rights.