Tarqi al-Khudeiri has returned home with his family in the West Bank city of Ramallah, but the 22-year-old freedom fighter, whose face and presence are well known at the city’s protests, would have been shocked by his arrest at the hands of Palestinian security forces last week.
“The security services called my father last Saturday and informed him that he and I needed to attend a” 10-minute “talks at their headquarters,” al-Khudeiri told Al Jazeera. They promised that my father and I would go home together. ”
Officials showed a video of the protest, alleging that al-Khudeiri insulted former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, which he denied.
“Everyone knows I have a good relationship with members and activists of various parties,” he said. “The demonstrations were a testament to the resilience and solidarity of our people in Gaza during the Israeli occupation. It is not logical to use these protests to insult politicians.”
The military has changed his mind, informing al-Khudeiri that his life is in danger and that unknown individuals have been trafficked and want to arrest him.
“The military told me to stay for 24 hours at their headquarters as a precautionary measure,” he said.
Al-Khudeiri, who has diabetes and suffers from some incurable disease, told his father to return home and bring his medication to the security headquarters.
“All of a sudden, without telling me, I was wrapped in a car and taken to a safe place [prison] at Jericho, ”he said.
That same night, the young hostess was brutally interrogated for hours, and treated her with “obvious anger” that shocked her.
“He threatened to tie me up with my hands – a form of torture known as shabah – and he physically and verbally beat me,” he said. “They handcuffed me and blindfolded me and sat me for a long time in a small chair with no back.”
For the first 24 hours after his arrest, al-Khudeiri’s family did not know his whereabouts. He was later taken to a room that was infested with insects and “not enough for anyone”. After her blood sugar level dropped slightly, her appeal to the sugar fell on her ears until she developed an infectious disease.
His arrest was extended for another 24 hours, and he was denied access to a lawyer.
We need a Prime Minister #P Palestine @KamemeTvKenya Release immediately #Help Tariq al-Khudairi, who was arrested without reasonable grounds on May 22 for exercising his rights #freedom of expression. Palestinian authorities must stop oppressing peace people! pic.twitter.com/d1e2b1i2Tg
– Amnesty International (@AmnestyAR) May 24, 2021
Interpretation: We call on the Prime Minister @DrShtayyeh to immediately release Tariq al-Khudeiri, who was arrested without cause on May 22 for exercising his right to free speech.
The interrogation resumed the next day.
“It became clear to me that the allegation of insulting the political leader was simply a matter of arresting me and feeding me other matters,” al-Khudeiri said. He was asked about what the students were doing, their previous detention by Israel in 2019, and about their fellow freedom fighters and former prisoners.
“They did not like me speaking against the Palestinian Authority, claiming that I was a member of Hamas,” he said. “I replied that I am not, but even if I did it would not be so difficult because it represents the struggle against the occupation of Israel.”
Later, the interrogators told him that the prosecutors accused him of “instigating controversy”, “instigators” and “insulting symbolic leaders”.
On Tuesday, al-Khudeiri appeared before a prosecutor who, contrary to what the interviewer had told him, said he was not guilty and that he was being held in solitary confinement. He wanted to extend his sentence for 15 days, but eventually released him “from his position”.
Violation of free speech
Al-Khudeiri’s case is one of the latest arrests of Palestinian freedom fighters and university and Palestinian Authority security officials in the West Bank.
Other detainees include Mahdi Abu Awwad, Mustafa Al-Khawaja, Akram Salamah, Anas Qazzaz, and Hussam Amareen, a medical student at the University of al-Quds.
Lawyers for Justice: The Jericho High Court is rejecting a request for the release of Hussam Amarin’s political prisoner, prompting a revocation of a special exam scheduled for next Saturday at the University of Medicine #Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/Zl69lZ55eA
– Quds News Network (@qudsn) May 27, 2021
Interpretation: Lawyers for Justice: A court in Jericho has rejected the request for the release of political prisoner Hussam Amareen, prompting him to reject a necessary exam scheduled for next Saturday at the Faculty of Medicine at al-Quds University
According to Shaker Tameiza, a lawyer for Addameer prisoners’ rights group, the arrest campaign began following the end of Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank saw well-known demonstrations of support and solidarity with its relatives in Gaza. .
“The number of arrests is alarming,” Tameiza told Al Jazeera. “If this continues, we can expect more political arrests in a few months.”
In violation of the law, the detainees are relocated from their hometowns or towns to the Jericho security forces – who are repeatedly referred to by their rights activists as “Jericho’s executioners”.
“According to the evidence we have heard, the detainees were tortured like shabah, insulted, and beaten,” he said.
“The law stipulates that every defendant must be tried in his or her city,” he added. “Their transfer to Jericho means that the lawyers will not be able to find them immediately.”
All arrests are due to violations of freedom of expression, such as radio and music programs during a show.
“Many of the charges against the plaintiffs are similar, such as ‘incitement to violence and conflict of any kind’ – which means that they are defaming the PA,” Tameiza said.
According to the Lawyers for Justice Network, the political arrests – which have been on the rise since last week – “clearly violate the liberal law imposed on the President of the Palestine Authority,” explicitly. “
Demonstrations threatened by PA
The seizure of activists is not new, and has been based on what political scientist Khalil Shaheen called the “survival principles” of the PA.
The PA relies on international acceptance based on bilateral negotiations and peace talks, he explained.
“This means that they see any other point, even if it has been put on hold because of popular protests, as a threat to it. Any deviation from PA’s ideology causes the government to oppress the freedom fighters, as it is unfortunate for the protests to turn into Intifada.
In the past, the PA has staged numerous protests either by electing or overseeing them as a way of forcing Israel to return to the negotiating table.
However, the latest developments are what have happened on the ground – from of Sheikh Jarrah protests and the Israeli occupation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and the invasion of Palestine within the territories of 1948, until rockets were removed from Gaza – all contributed to this.
“The PA is concerned that armed conflict with Israel is spreading in the West Bank,” Shaheen said. “In addition, there is a new generation of incoming freedom fighters who have no politics according to party members, hence they cannot be elected. The youths have been at the forefront of the fight against Israeli forces, either in Jerusalem or Haifa, and are not recognized by the PA. ”
The construction work as a means of intimidation, which coincided with the “law and order” of Israel within the territories of 1948 when hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel were besieged, is in line with the oppressive regime, Shaheen said.
“PA rules in fear because it wants to retain control,” he said. “That is why he suspended the election, because he knows it will be a disgrace to the ruling Fatah party.”
For freedom fighter al-Khudeiri, now is not the time for factions to share politics.
“The Palestinian people must adhere to the agreement that we have seen in the case of Sheikh Jarrah and throughout Jerusalem, Gaza, and in 1948 Palestine,” he said.
“We must remain united under one flag to counter Israel’s stability, stability and security as a means of establishing the so-called peace, which is already dead. At the end of the day, what we do on the streets is for our people to prosper and live a dignified and free life. ”