Amidst a flurry of controversy following the arrest of Issa Amro for ‘causing strife’ with a Facebook post, the Palestinian Authority agreed Sunday to release the Hebron-based activist on bail.
Amro is the head of the organization Youth Against Settlements, which has organized many protests against Israeli settlement expansion and violence in the Hebron area.
Initially the Palestinian Authority had not set bail for Amro, but after international criticism and a hunger strike by Amro, agreed to release him Sunday on $1400 USD bail.
A recent Facebook post by Amro that criticized the Palestinian Authority and called on the Palestinian President and Prime Minister to resign led to Amro being charged with “causing strife” and a “broad accusation of criminal action” under the Palestinian Authority’s Cyber Crimes Law.
Amro had written the post to denounce the decision by the Palestinian Authority to arrest journalist Ayman Qawasmeh, the director of the Manbar al-Hurriya radio station in Hebron. Qawasmeh’s arrest was just the latest in a series of arrests of journalists by the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinian Authority was put in place in 1993 as part of the Oslo Accords in order to transition from Israeli military authority of the Occupied Palestinian Territories to Palestinian rule. But the Israeli military occupation never ended, and the Palestinian Authority holds very little governing power in the Palestinian Territories. But they do have the power to arrest and imprison Palestinians, and have recently passed a law making it a criminal offense to criticize their policies online.
In addition to the charges against him by the Palestinian Authority, Amro is facing eighteen charges filed by the Israeli military authority for his work opposing the Israeli military occupation and settlement expansion in his city of Hebron.