An Israeli military court has jailed a Palestinian activist and Amnesty ‘prisoner of conscience’ for six months, sparking widespread condemnation.
On Monday, Ofer Military Court sentenced Munther Amira, head of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee in the occupied West Bank, to six months in jail plus a suspended sentence of five years and a fine.
According to reports, Israeli prosecutors levelled a dozen charges against Amira, including “throwing stones, organising and participating in unpermitted marches, and throwing an incendiary device towards soldiers [a reference to a tear gas canister]”.
He was convicted on four counts relating to his participation in demonstrations, including organising demonstrations without the authorisation of the Israeli military commander in the West Bank.
Amira was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on 27 December, 2017, while peacefully participating in a protest in Bethlehem, calling for the release of activists Ahed and Nariman Tamimi.
Amnesty International described Amira as a “Palestinian prisoner of conscience”, whose treatment constitutes “a blatant and appalling attempt to intimidate those who peacefully protest against Israel’s occupation”, and urged Israeli authorities “immediately release” him.
“By sentencing Munther Amira to six months in prison for his peaceful participation in protests, the Israeli authorities continue to show contempt for their obligations to protect the rights of Palestinians living under their occupation”, said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Yet again, the Israeli authorities are responding to peaceful protest with arbitrary imprisonment. Instead of unlawfully punishing Munther and other Palestinians who peacefully challenge the harsh reality of the ongoing occupation, the Israeli authorities must remember their legal obligations as the occupying power”, she continued.