UPDATE | 17 November 2010: Wa’el al-Faqeeh was released from Israeli prison today and is back in his Nablus home. The International Solidarity Movement strongly condemned his arrest, which marked an escalation in Israeli targeting of Palestinian popular resistance leaders. Wa’el has been a irreplaceable grassroots organizer in the Nablus area and we are ecstatic that he has been released. He is back in Nablus and is ready to continue his reign as Chess champion.
Please consider making a donation to help pay for his legal fees (see bottom of the post to donate) or visit the International Solidarity Movement donations page.
15 January 2010
On the night of December 9th 2009, over 200 Israeli soldiers entered the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Their mission: to round up local grassroots activists, whose promotion of popular struggle Israel had no answer for. Amongst those taken was 45 year old Wa’el Al-Faqeeh. Fifty soldiers stormed his home, pointing their weapons at him and his family as though the man they had come to arrest embodied a formidable threat. But those who know Al Faqeeh know that he worked tirelessly – and on a largely voluntary basis – in defense of human rights and the promotion of the strategies and philosophy of Palestinian non-violent resistance.
Political prisoner Wa’el Al-Faqeeh has been detained without charge by Israeli authorities for over a month, and is now facing trial in a military court scheduled to begin on the 19th of January. The abduction of Al-Faqeeh from his home, along with 4 other activists in the Nablus region, marked the beginning of the recent surge in Israel’s targeting of leaders of Palestinian popular resistance.
We call on you to take effective and public action to end the arrest, detention and mistreatment of Palestinian human rights activists such as Wa’el Al-Faqeeh. Deprived of his liberty and his voice, we ask you to join us in exercising our freedom of speech where he can not by calling for the release of Wa’el Al-Faqeeh and all political prisoners inside Israel’s jails.
What you can do to help:
* Contact your representatives asking them to exert pressure on Israeli officials to release Wa’el Al-Faqeeh and to end the unlawful imprisonment of human rights defenders. Click here to send a letter to Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union. Click here to send a letter to the American consulate in Jerusalem, or use the sample letter here to send to your respective representative. You can find a list of embassies and their contact information here.
* Host an event, or hold a demonstration or action in your area to raise awareness, support – and even funds – for Al-Faqeeh and all political prisoners. You could organise a film night, street projection, “Free the Prisoners” party, or a demonstration outside an Israeli embassy or consulate in your country. Organisers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for media support.
* Wa’el Al-Faqeeh faces military court on the January 19. His legal defence comes at a high price and contributions to his legal fund support both Al-Faqeeh and his family. You can make a donation to the Free Wa’el fund here.
You can follow updates on Al-Faqeeh’s case and get in touch with his supporters by joining the Free Wa’el Facebook group here.