Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East

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Please see below the latest Urgent Action from Amnesty International.  Murad Shtewi was recently sentenced to nine and a half months detention for organizing and participating in a peaceful protest against the closure of the main road leading to and from his village.  Amnesty International considers Murad a prisoner of conscience and is demanding his immediate and unconditional release.  See details and contact information for relevant Israeli officials below. - Edith Garwood (12-26-2014)




An Israeli military court has convicted human rights defender Murad Shtewi of participating in and organizing protests against the closure of the main road to and from his village. The road has been designated for use by residents of nearby Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. He is a prisoner of conscience.

Murad Shtewi was sentenced on 3 December to nine-and-a-half-months’ imprisonment and a fine of around US$2,550; he was also given a suspended sentence that will be invoked if he takes part in any more demonstrations. He has been detained since 29 April, so will just serve a further two months. He has spent the last 12 years campaigning for his village’s road to be reopened to Palestinians.

He was convicted at Salem Military Court on charges brought against him in May following his arrest by Israeli forces for organizing and participating in a demonstration that was unauthorized under Military Order 101, which requires permission from an Israeli military commander for all gatherings of 10 or more people “for a political purpose or a matter that could be interpreted as political” and carries a maximum 10-year sentence. He was also charged with causing a public disturbance; a charge of rock-throwing at a protest was dropped during his trial. He was repeatedly denied bail during the trial, which lasted five months though the court sat for only five days.

Since Kufr Qaddum’s main road was closed, villagers have been forced to take an alternative route which is about six times longer. The road had been the main connection to the nearest city, Nablus, until nearby settlements were expanded. Murad Shtewi’s case is just one of the many that show how the Israeli military uses punitive measures against Palestinian protesters to prevent them from exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly in peaceful protests against restrictions on their movement and confiscation of their land.

Please write immediately in Hebrew, English or your own language:

n  Condemning the imprisonment of Murad Shtewi and calling on the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression;

n  Calling on them to protect the right to freedom of expression and assembly in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by rescinding Military Order 101, which unlawfully restricts these rights.



Prime Minister

Benjamin Netanyahu

Office of the Prime Minister

3 Kaplan St, PO Box 187

Kiryat Ben-Gurion

Jerusalem 91950, Israel

Email: b.netanyahu@pmo.gov.il


Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

Military Judge Advocate General

Brigadier General Danny Efroni

6 David Elazar Street

Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel

Fax: 011 972 3 569 4526

Email: avimn@idf.gov.il

Salutation: Dear Judge Advocate General  

And copies to:

Minister of Defense                 

Moshe Ya’alon

Ministry of Defense

37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya

Tel Aviv 61909, Israel

Fax: 011 972 3 691 6940

011 972 3 696 2757

Also send copies to:

Ambassador Ron Dermer, Embassy of Israel

3514 International Dr. NW, Washington DC 20008

Fax: 1 202 364 5607  I  Phone: 1 202 364 5500  I  Email: info@israelemb.org  -OR-  info@washington.mfa.gov.il