Today, February 19, 2023, the Ramallah Magistrate Court held three trial sessions for five political activists and human rights defenders, who had previously been arrested on the basis of their participation in demonstrations condemning the assassination of martyr Nizar Banat and/or expressing their opinions about the assassination of martyr Nizar Banat, they are Salem Abdel-Rahman (Al-Qatsh), Jihad Abdo, Ezz El-Din Zaoul, Fakhri Jaradat, and Osama Jaradat.

Fakhri Jaradat is being prosecuted in two separate files, one of as a single defendant, and the other with his son, Osama. Although Qatash was arrested by the occupation authorities nearly a year ago, he is still being prosecuted on the aforementioned basis.

Although their trial started two years ago, their sessions are still postponed due to the absence of witnesses of the Public Prosecution who are members and officers of the Palestinian police, and by their absence, their files lack of guarantees to a fair trial that must be available.

For all of this, domestic law and international agreements and treaties guarantee the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and to participate in peaceful assemblies. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulated in article (19) thereof that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” And stipulated in Article (20/1) “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”

Therefore, the prosecution of political activists and human rights defenders, based on their exercise of their freedom to express their opinions, or their participation in peaceful assemblies, is a violation of the local laws that guarantee these rights, in addition to the treaties and agreements to which the Palestinian Authority has committed itself.

Lawyers for Justice

February 19, 2023