Activist Farid Al-Atrash’s court hearing to take place Monday

PNN/ Bethlehem/

The Palestinian lawyer and leading activist, Farid Al-Atrash, who was arrested by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Friday 26 February during a nonviolent demonstration in Hebron, will be sent to Israeli court on Monday 29 February, for hearing session.

Farid was violently beaten and taken to the Jaabara police station in Kiryat Arba’ settlement for participating in the demonstration, which is part of the 7th International Campaign which calls on opening Shuhada Street, evacuating Israeli settlers and occupation from it, and letting Palestinian owners back into it.

According to his lawyer Gabi Laski’s office, the Israeli police said that they are not willing to release him, adding that he might be transferred to military prosecution.

The office added the occupation is 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.

The Israeli law allows the police to arrest activists up to 96 hours, and so Farid’s hearing was supposed to take place on Tuesday 1 March. 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 arrested, saying that it is yet another violation against Human Rights Defenders who should be protected by the 1998 conventions, especially 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 it was concerned about the arrest which solely relates to his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Furthermore, PSCC expressed concerns at the continuous arrests, harassment and prosecution of Human right defenders and activists.

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