|Institut für Palästinakunde|
- IPK -
I was recently released after more than a year in an Israeli prison for organizing demonstrations against the Occupation in my West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. As an organizer my case drew international attention - from the New York Times, to Amnesty International, to the US State Department's Annual Human Rights Report, the EU, as well as private people the world-over who called for my release.
My prison nights, like those of every other political prisoner anywhere else in the world, were riddled with loneliness. To those of you who have never felt the stifling dark of a holding cell, I doubt I can convey the relief offered by the thought of a world-wide network of people "watching your back". Whoever felt such a thing will feel forever obliged to help others in the same situation. I knew that once sentenced or granted bail, money will not be an issue. My people, I knew, will take care of it. Now it is up to me, to all of us, to take care of others.
Like myself, my good friend Naji Tamimi was released from prison in March after spending a year in an prison for organizing the demonstrations in our village. Committed to our path and our struggle, he returned to demonstrate as soon as he was free. Two months later, they came for him again.
Naji, a father of four, and their soul breadwinner, was re-arrested on May 15 at a demonstration commemorating the 1948 Nakba that took place at an Israeli military checkpoint near the village of Ni'ilin. He was the only one arrested at the demonstration. Since under Israeli military law, Palestinians are forbidden from demonstrating, he was charged with participating in illegal demonstration, and subsequently sentenced to two and a half months in prison, as well as a 5,000 Shekels (1,300 USD) fine. It is on his behalf that I appeal to you.
Until the fine is paid, Naji will not be released. But his family, in need of support themselves without their sole provider, are unable to pay the fine. The people of Nabi Saleh have joined their hands in an attempt to collect the fee ,yet we are unable to reach the sum and have therefore resorted to seek the aid of our supporters and friends. Help us gather the money to release Naji and many others in his position.