A Palestinian court in Tulkarm has dropped all charges against a Palestinian youth arrested over a Facebook post, some eight months after he was first detained.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, the court decided on 2 January that there was insufficient evidence against Ahmad Awartani, “and his charges were not considered crimes rather they were expressions which fall under freedom of opinion and expression”.
The report stated that the charges were “related to a personal Facebook post” and based on “the Palestinian Electronic Crime law”.
The Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Forces arrested Awartani on 21 April 2018 “without presenting an arrest warrant”, Addameer noted, before transferring him to detention in Jericho “where he was interrogated, ill-treated and tortured”. On 17 May, he was released on bail.
Addameer stated that “the fact that charges were dropped and the court ruled for Ahmad’s innocence is a piece of evidence by itself for his arbitrary detention.”
“In Ahmad’s case and also other similar cases the Palestinian Security Forces violated several international conventions such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” Addameer added, “in an attempt to limit whatever space available for Palestinians to freely express themselves and to have political participation in their own communities.”