Maher Younis was born on 6th January 1958. He grew up in a modest family that believed in the justice of the Palestinian cause. He received his primary education in the village of Ara, and pursued vocational training in the city Al Khdera near Haifa. At the time of his arrest he was registered with the Hebrew University.
Maher was arrested on the night of 20th January 1983. Without warning, dozens of military jeeps had surrounded the family house before breaking into it. They quickly handcuffed him, placed a bag around his head, beat him, and then took him away to one of their interrogation centres.
The Israeli army continued to investigate him for more than six months without his family knowing the reason why, until the court hearing, when it was revealed and they were seeking the death penalty for the 1980 murder of an Israeli soldier, Avi Bromberg.
Being one of the longest serving Palestinian prisoners, Maher currently spends most his time liaising between fellow prisoners. He engages in many other activities such as exercises and hand crafts to maintain both his sanity and dignity.
As for his grieving mother, she says: “For the past 27 years, we had to travel from Ara to Nafah and other occupation prisons. We set out before the dawn prayer, take buses and journey for hours, not being able to return home until late at night. This is a disaster for prisoners’ families who must put up with extreme temperatures of heat and cold, as well as routine humiliation, bullying and emotional blackmail.”
The hardship of prison has taken a toll on Maher’s health, but like so many others in his position, he remains patient and steadfast in love for his homeland and hope of freedom.