PA arrests activist in Hebron

The PA security forces arrested Issa Amro after he criticized the PA on Facebook.

 Issa Amro -  a well-known Palestinian activist from Hebron (photo credit: REUTERS)
Issa Amro - a well-known Palestinian activist from Hebron
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security Service arrested Issa Amro, a wellknown Palestinian activist from Hebron, his lawyer and brother said on Tuesday.
Ahmad Amro said he believes his brother was arrested on Monday for criticizing the PA on Facebook for arresting a local radio station chairman last weekend. Minbar al-Hurriya radio station chairman Ayman Qawasmeh called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to resign in a video shared widely on social media.
“We still don’t know for sure, but I believe that they arrested him because of the posts,” Ahmad said in a phone interview.
In a series of Facebook posts on Sunday evening, Issa Amro called on the PA to release Qawasmeh and respect freedom of expression.
“Freedom for Ayman Qawasmeh,” Amro wrote. “We are living in a quasi-state that needs to respect freedom, freedom of expression, and its international commitments.”
Amro also wrote, “There is a journalist who is being threatened by members of the [PA] security forces for publishing a story about Ayman Qawasmeh’s arrest... I would love for everyone who is being threatened to speak with me so that we can complain to the Europeans about the people making threats.”
PA security forces spokesman Adnan al-Damiri was not available to comment for this report.
Amro, who is the founder of Youth Against Settlements, has been known to criticize the PA when he believes it undermines democracy and freedom of expression. In early August, when the PA arrested several Hamas-affiliated journalists, Amro rebuked the governing-body.
“Arresting journalists... is an affront to every Palestinian,” Amro wrote on Facebook at the time.
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.
Many US lawmakers have called on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to monitor Amro’s trial.