Palestinian Authority releases prominent Palestinian activist on bail – Middle East

Issa Amro – a well-known Palestinian activist from Hebron.
(photo credit:REUTERS)

A Palestinian Authority court on Sunday ordered the release of Issa Amro, a prominent Palestinian activist, after he was arrested for criticizing the PA on Facebook. 


One of Amro’s lawyers, Farid al-Atrash, said his client was set free on $1,400 bail.


In a Facebook post on September 3, Amro slammed the PA for arresting a local radio station chairman, who called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to resign. The following day, the PA Preventative Security Service detained Amro.


The PA Attorney General’s Office told a court last week that it suspects Amro of “insulting authorities”, “stirring up sectarian tension” and “disturbing public order.” However, the Attorney General’s Office has yet to decide if it will indict the activist.


Following his release on Sunday, Amro said that he will “continue to fight against human rights violations no matter where they take place.” 


“I know that change comes at a price,” Amro said in a phone call.


Amro also said he was mistreated when he was first detained.


“I was placed in a small cell and one of the officers insulted me,” Amro stated, “But after I complained to authorities, my conditions were improved.”


PA Security Forces Spokesman Adnan al-Damiri did not respond to phone calls for comment. 


Last week, international and local human rights groups blasted the PA for arresting Amro.


“It is outrageous that a prominent human rights defender has been arrested simply for voicing his opinion online. Criticizing the authorities should not be a criminal offence,” Magdalena Mughrabi Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said early last week.


Amro, who leads an anti-Israeli military rule group in Hebron, is also on trial in an Israeli military court. Israeli authorities have accused him of inciting to violence, participating in riots, and preventing security forces from doing their work. Nonetheless, rights groups have called the allegations against Amro “baseless” and urged Israeli authorities to drop their case against him.


Tens of US lawmakers have called on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to monitor Amro’s trial.

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