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Grassroots activist Wa’el Al-Faqeeh faces military court, still without charge

16 March 2010

Palestinian activist Wa’el Al-Faqeeh faced his third hearing in Salim military court on 11 March. His detention period was extended until 24 April when the next hearing will take place. Al-Faqeeh remains imprisoned without charge since his arrest from his Nablus home on 9 December 2009. It is expected that Al-Faqeeh will be charged with aiding an illegal organization, a common pretext employed by the Israeli military to imprison politically active Palestinians, and faces a minimum of 12 months behind bars.

Al-Faqeeh, imprisoned for over three months now, sent a message to his loved ones from Jelemeh prison as he began the new year imprisoned by Israel’s occupation forces: “I am the captive Wael Al-Faqeeh, wishing the free world a Happy New Year full of peace, security and love. I hope for a year of enlightment in all human relations, and a renewed call for peace agreements, supported by the free people of the world. It is my hope that we can design and build a society free from all forms of discrimination and persecution.”

Al-Faqeeh’s wife Myassar has been denied permission to visit her husband in Megiddo prison where he has been held for the last 2 months. She has been afforded only two brief glimpses of Al-Faqeeh since the arrest, at hearings at Salim military court which have lasted an average of 3 minutes. Permission was granted to his two eldest daughters however, who will make the journey to Megiddo in northern Israel next week.

Reports that Al-Faqeeh’s health has deteriorated whilst in prison have fueled his family and friends’ concern for the human rights activist. Family members and fellow solidarity activists have lodged requests to the Red Cross and Physicians For Human Rights to visit Al-Faqeeh and ensure that his health is sufficiently attended to.

Al-Faqeeh, 45 years old, was kidnapped in a night raid on his family’s home in Nablus on 9 December 2009, when a force of over 200 Israeli soldiers entered the city in an operation to arrest prominent grassroots activists in the region. Al-Faqeeh is known throughout the community for his tireless support of the Palestinian non-violent struggle and organization of countless community-outreach projects, demonstrations and cultural/educational programs for Nablus’ youth. The arrests signaled an escalation in Israel’s attempts to crack down on the resurgence of Palestine’s popular resistance against the illegal occupation, evidenced by the subsequent arrests of community leaders Abdullah Abu-Rahmah and Mohammad Khatib of Bil’in, Ibrahim Amirah and Hassan Mousa of Ni’lin and Jamal Juma’, head of the Stop The Wall campaign, from Jerusalem.

Take action against Israel’s detention of Wa’el Al-Faqeeh and all political prisoners here.