Tarqi al-Khudeiri and his family returned to their home in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, but the 22-year-old militant was widely known during the demonstrations in the city, but he was still confused when he was arrested Palestinian security forces last week.
al-Khudeiri told Al Jazeera: “The preventive security forces called my father’s cell phone last Saturday and told him that he and I need to have a 10-minute’friendly’ conversation at their headquarters.” “They promised my father and I will go home together.”
The officer then showed a video of the protest, claiming that Hudari chanted insults to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, but he categorically denied it.
“Everyone knows that I have a good relationship with members of various political parties and activists,” he said. “These protests are to support resistance and solidarity with our people in Gaza during the Israeli offensive. There is no point in using these protests to insult political leaders.”
The security forces changed their strategy and informed al-Khudeiri that his life was threatened by unidentified people who were insulted for suspected crime and went out to find him.
“The security forces told me to stay at their headquarters for 24 hours as a form of protection,” he said.
Al-Khudeiri, who suffers from diabetes and other chronic diseases, told his father to go home and bring his medication to the security headquarters.
“Suddenly, I didn’t say anything. I was tied up in the car and taken to the security complex. [prison] In Jericho,” he said.
That night, the young human rights activist was interrogated vigorously for hours and was treated with “inner anger and depravity”, which shocked him.
“They threatened to hang me by hand-a torture called shabah-and beat me physically and verbally,” he recalled. “They cuffed my hands behind my back, blindfolded me, and let me sit in a low chair without a backrest for a long time.”
24 hours before his detention, al-Khudeiri’s family did not know his whereabouts. He was eventually taken to a separate cell full of insects, “not suitable for humans”. As his blood sugar levels dropped to dangerously low levels, his request for a diabetes kit was ignored until he developed hypoglycemia.
His detention time was extended by another 24 hours and he was barred from meeting with a lawyer.
We ask the prime minister #Palestinians Dr @Shtayyeh Release immediately #activist Tariq Al-Khudairi was arbitrarily arrested on May 22 only because he exercised his right to freedom of speech. #freedom of speech. The Palestinian Authority must stop suppressing peaceful dissidents! pic.twitter.com/d1e2b1i2Tg
-Amnesty International (@AmnestyAR) May 24, 2021
Translation: We call on the Prime Minister @DrShtayyeh to immediately release Tariq al-Khudeiri, who was arbitrarily arrested on May 22 for exercising his right to freedom of speech.
The interrogation began again the next day.
Al-Khudeiri said: “I know very well that this question of alleged insults to political leaders is just an excuse to arrest me and cross-examine me on other matters.” He was interrogated about his student activism and he was arrested by Israel in 2019. , And other militants and former prisoners.
“They don’t like my outspoken opposition to the Palestinian Authority and accuse me of being a member of Hamas,” he said. “I replied that I am not, but even if I am, there shouldn’t be a problem because they represent resistance to Israeli occupation.”
In the end, the interrogators told him that the prosecution accused him of “inciting conflict”, “inciting” and “insulting symbolic leaders.”
On Tuesday, al-Khudeiri appeared in front of the prosecutors. Contrary to what the interrogators told him, the prosecutor said he was innocent and reiterated that he was detained in the security building to protect himself. They wanted to extend his detention period by 15 days, but eventually released him on “his own responsibility”.
Violation of freedom of speech
The Al-Khudeiri case is one of dozens of Palestinian activists and university students arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces in the occupied West Bank recently.
Others include Mahdi Abu Awwad, Mustafa Al-Khawaja, Akram Salamah, Anas Qazzaz and Hussam Amareen, a medical student at Al-Quds University.
Justice Lawyer: The Jericho District Court rejected the request for the release of political prisoner Hossam Ammarin, which prevented him from taking the important exam scheduled for next Saturday at the university medical school. #Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/Zl69lZ55eA
-Holy City News Network (@qudsn) May 27, 2021
Translation: Justice Lawyer: The Jericho court rejected the request for the release of political prisoner Hussam Amareen, which resulted in him being refused to take the important exam scheduled for next Saturday at the Al-Quds University School of Medicine.
According to Shaker Tameiza, a lawyer for the Addameer Prisoners Rights Organization, the arrests began after the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip ended, and after witnessing public protests in the West Bank expressing their support and solidarity with the Gaza compatriots.
“These arrest rates are worrying,” Tameza told Al Jazeera. “If this situation continues, we may see hundreds of political arrests in just a few months.”
In violation of the law, detainees were transferred from their home city or town to the security complex in Jericho-the activists colloquially referred to as the “slaughterhouse of Jericho.”
“According to the testimony we heard, the arrested were subjected to torture in the form of Sabah, insults and beatings,” he said.
“The law states that every defendant should be tried in his or her city,” he continued. “Their transfer to Jericho means that lawyers cannot reach them immediately.”
All arrests are based on violations of freedom of speech, such as social media posts and slogans during protests.
“Most of the allegations that activists are accused of are more or less the same, such as’inciting sectarian and ethnic conflict’-which is considered an insult to the Palestinian Authority,” Tameiza said.
According to the Judicial Network Lawyers Association, political arrests-which have intensified since last week-“clearly and unequivocally violated the freedom decree recently issued by the President of the Palestinian Authority.”
The Palestinian Authority views the protest as a threat
The suppression of militants is not new, and its roots are what political analyst Khalil Shaheen called the Palestinian Authority’s “survival policy”.
He explained that the Palestinian Authority maintains its legitimacy in the international community only by adopting the discourse of a two-state solution and the so-called peace process negotiations.
“This means that it treats any other policy as a threat to it, even if it is rooted in popular protests. Any deviation from this Palestinian Authority strategy will lead the government to suppress militants because it sees protests turn into insurrection. It is in the interests of the Palestinian Authority.”
In the past, the Palestinian Authority responded to popular protests by co-election or maintaining a certain degree of control over protests as a means to force Israel to return to the negotiating table.
However, recent events and developments in the local area-from Sheikh Jala protest The Israeli attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the 1948 attack on Palestinian territory, the rocket launched from Gaza-all contributed to the situation.
“The Palestinian Authority is worried that the armed confrontation with Israel will spread to the occupied West Bank,” Shaheen said. “The most important thing is that the emergence of a new generation of activists is not politicized based on party membership and therefore cannot be co-opted. These young people have always been at the forefront of confrontation with the Israeli army, whether in Jerusalem or Haifa, the Palestinian Authority Institutions don’t traditionally know.”
The arrest, as a strategy of fear, was carried out concurrently with Israel’s 1948 “law and order” operation in the territory. Hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian citizens were rounded up, which is consistent with the behavior of the authoritarian government, Shaheen said.
“The Palestinian Authority rules in fear because it is desperate to maintain its authority,” he said. “That’s why they postponed the election because they knew it would be an embarrassing defeat for the dominant Fatah party.”
For the militant al-Khudeiri, now is not the time for the factions to earn personal political scores.
“The Palestinians need to uphold this unity, and we have witnessed recent events in Sheikh Jala and other areas of Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestine in 1948,” he said.
“We need to stay united under the same banner and fight against the normalization, occupation and security of Israel as a way to bury the so-called peace process, which is dead. In the final analysis, what we did on the streets The thing is to enable our people to thrive and live a glorious and free life.”