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Help Free Ahmed Qatamesh as Addameer Tours the U.S.

by Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director
May 13th, 2013


Ask Your Representative to “Adopt” Qatamesh, an Amnesty International “Prisoner of Conscience”

Ahmed Qatamesh needs your support. This 62-year-old Palestinian academic has been jailed by Israel under “administrative detention”—its policy of holding people without charge or trial—for more than two years. He is suffering from an undiagnosed illness that is causing nausea and faintness, and Israel has not allowed his request to see an independent doctor.
Amnesty International (AI) has declared Ahmed to be a “prisoner of conscience” and demanded his immediate, unconditional release. There being “no apparent reason to hold him,” AI “believes he is being held to suppress his views and to deter political activities by other Palestinian left-wing activists.”

In the 1990s, Ahmed was jailed by Israel for more than five years without charge. He wrote a memoir of his experiences, which included being subjected to torture, in a book entitled I Shall Not Wear Your Tarboosh (Fez).

The torture to which Ahmed was subjected in the 1990s and the medical neglect from which he is suffering now are some of the disturbingly routine and illegal aspects of Israel’s mass incarceration of Palestinian political prisoners, many of whom have engaged or are engaging now in prolonged hunger strikes to protest the injustices they face.

To heighten awareness of these issues and to build bridges of solidarity with the movement against mass incarceration in the United States, Sahar Francis, the Executive Director of Addameer: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, is currently touring the country.

This week, we’ll be bringing Sahar to policy-makers, government officials and think tanks in Washington, D.C. to help raise the profile of Palestinian political prisoners and Israel’s use of administrative detention. 

We need your grassroots support to put the plight of Palestinian political prisoners and the use of administrative detention squarely on our country's policy agenda.

The Lantos Human Rights Commission has called on Representatives to “adopt” political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, from around the world and advocate for their release. Please take a moment to call and write your Representative and ask him/her to “adopt” Ahmed Qatamesh and speak out against Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinian political prisoners

That way, when Sahar goes to Capitol Hill this week, Members of Congress will know that constituents like you care about this issue and want them to do something concrete about it.

To learn more about this issue, including how Palestinian political prisoners have died recently after apparent torture and medical neglect, see Addameer’s website. And be sure to read this important report by Amnesty International, “Starved of Justice: Palestinians Detained without Trial by Israel.

Thank you for asking your Representative to “adopt” Ahmed Qatamesh and for helping build support for Sahar’s and Addameer’s crucial work this week in Washington, D.C.


Josh Ruebner
National Advocacy Director

P.S.: If you live in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, or New York be sure to attend an upcoming event with Sahar Francis in your city through May 21.

P.P.S.: Don’t forget, this Wednesday, May 15, marks 65 years of the Nakba, Israel’s ethnic cleansing and dispossession of Palestinians. Join an event near you commemorating the Nakba.

P.P.P.S.: Did you see this weekend's ground-breaking editorial in The Boston Globe defending BDS? Please click here to read the piece and show your support!