Palestinian lawyer and leading activist, Farid Al-Atrash, who was taken into custody by Israeli forces on Friday, February 26, during a nonviolent demonstration in Hebron, will be sent to an Israeli court on Monday, February 29, for a hearing session.Farid was violently beaten and taken to the Jaabara police station in Kiryat Arba’ settlement, for participating in a demonstration that was a part of the 7th International Campaign calling for the reopening of Shuhada Street, the evacuation of Israeli settlers and military occupation, and allowing Palestinian free access, once again.
According to lawyer Gabi Laski’s office, Israeli police said that they are not willing to release him, adding that he might be transferred to military prosecution.
The office added, according to the PNN, that occupation authorities are intending to charge Farid with malicious charges which include hitting one of the Israeli soldiers and participating in an “illegal protest.”
Al-Atrash is a Human Rights Defender and Chairman of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in Bethlehem.
Israeli law allows police to detain activists up to 96 hours, and so Farid’s hearing was supposed to take place on Tuesday, March 1. However, the commission demanded an urgent hearing that will take place one day earlier, on Monday.
Farid’s colleague, Lawyer Alaa Ghanayem, said that the commission has been following the case since the moment Farid was detained, saying that it is yet another violation against human rights defenders who should be protected by the 1998 conventions, especially in that they follow the nonviolent protest approach.
Ghanayem valued the attempts of his fellow lawyers, the Palestinian Prisoner Affairs committee, the United Nations High Commissioner’s office and the Red Cross, for their concerns regarding Al-Atrash’s case.
Farid is part of Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC), which presents community-based resistance rooted in a belief in the power of nonviolent struggle, taking various forms, such as strikes, protests, and legal campaigns, as well as supporting the call to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. The Coordination Committee facilitates communication between various villages involved in struggles against the Wall, ethnic cleansing, settler expansion, and various aspects of Israeli Occupation.
On Friday, PSCC condemned the attack and arrest of Al-Atrash, and demanded immediate action to be taken to release him from prison.
PSCC stated that it was concerned about the detention, which solely relates to his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities in the occupied Palestinian Territories. Furthermore, PSCC expressed concerns at the continuous jailing, harassment and prosecution of human right defenders and activists.
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