Issa Amro - a well-known Palestinian activist from Hebron.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The PA Attorney-General’s Office on Wednesday extended the detention of Issa Amro, a prominent Palestinian activist from Hebron, for 24 hours on suspicions of “speaking with insolence” and “stirring up sectarian tension,” Amro’s lawyer Islaman Husseini said.
Amro, the founder of Youth Against Settlements, an anti-Israeli-military-rule organization, was arrested Monday evening by the Palestinian Authority Preventive Security Service after he wrote a series of Facebook posts criticizing the PA for cracking down on freedom of expression.
“It was clear that they were not pleased with his Facebook posts,” Husseini said, speaking of his meeting with the Attorney-General’s Office in Hebron on Wednesday.
The PA has previously arrested a number of Palestinian civilians and journalists over Facebook and other social media posts, according to multiple reports.
If the Attorney-General’s Office wants to detain Amro past Thursday, a judge will need to grant it an extension.
A high-ranking PA official told The Jerusalem Post that the Attorney-General’s Office still has not decided if it will issue an indictment against Amro and could even release him at some point soon.
A number of local activists are planning to hold a sit-in in Hebron against Amro’s detention on Thursday.
In addition, international human rights organizations such as Humans Rights Watch have issued sharp rebukes of the PA’s detention of Amro.
“The Palestinian Authority’s detention of... Issa Amro, apparently for a Facebook post calling on the PA to respect free speech, makes plain how little respect it has,” Sarah Wilkinson, executive director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch, said on Wednesday.
Amro is also on trial in an Israeli military court. Israeli authorities have accused him of inciting to violence, participating in riots, and preventing security forces from doing their work. However, rights groups such as Amnesty International have called the allegations against Amro “baseless” and urged Israeli authorities to drop their case against him.
Over 30 US lawmakers have called on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to monitor Amro’s trial
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