Ignoring Amnesty International’s call for his immediate and unconditional release, an Israeli military judge yesterday extended by eight days the detention of Palestinian human rights defender and BDS coordinator Mahmoud Nawajaa for continued interrogation, according to Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association.
Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, which is interrogating Nawajaa at the Al-Jalameh interrogation center near Haifa, has presented no charges or evidence against him to date, even during yesterday’s hearing, held at a military court near Jenin.
Since his arrest on 30 July from his home near Ramallah, in the occupied Palestinian territory, Nawajaa has not been allowed to exercise his right to see his lawyer, appointed by Addameer.
On 7 August, Amnesty International issued a statement that said:
“Israeli authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Palestinian human rights defender Mahmoud Nawajaa, 34, the General Coordinator of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)…. He has been detained solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and association and is therefore a prisoner of conscience.”
The Amnesty statement called for pressure on Israel to release Nawajaa, saying that Israel has interpreted the international community’s failure “to take concrete action” to pressure it “as a green light” to pursue its illegal policies, including the persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders.
An international campaign with the hashtag, #FreeMahmoud, has grown to include parliamentarians, trade unions, solidarity groups, and social movements in many countries.
Speaking for the BDS movement for Palestinian rights, Stephanie Adam said:
“This further extension of the illegal detention of Mahmoud by Israel’s military court system, which is notorious for its near 100% conviction rate of Palestinians, proves once more that only sustained international pressure, coupled with internal popular struggle, can help Palestinians achieve liberation from Israel’s apartheid and colonial system.
“Mahmoud’s detention is an attack on the entire non-violent global BDS movement. With the support of millions of people of conscience worldwide, we’ll continue growing our movement until all Palestinians can enjoy freedom, justice and equality.”
The BDS movement has called on human rights activists worldwide to increase pressure in their respective countries to secure Israel’s immediate release of Mahmoud Nawajaa.