Jawad Siyam about to be released from house arrest

A community organizer in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan who was accused of violentlyattacking another Silwan resident was arrested and detained on the eve of theend of his house arrest on Monday afternoon. Jawad Siyam, the director of theSilwan Information Center and the Madaa Community Center in Wadi Hilweh, was sentencedto five weeks house arrest for attacking another resident in January. He wasset to come before a judge on Tuesday, who was expected to release him fromhouse arrest and give Siyam a restraining order against the victim, said left-wing activist Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, who attended thecourt hearing.

On Monday afternoon, however, Siyam was arrested and broughtto a detention center, after police accused him of attacking the same man andviolating conditions of his house arrest. Siyam’s co-workers called the allegedattack a “gross fabrication” when he was first arrested, and maintain thathe has alibis for the date of the second alleged attack that prove he isinnocent.

About 30 activists from the Sheikh Jarrah SolidarityMovement, which has also been active in Silwan, protested Siyam’s arrest outsidethe police station in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon. Rabbis for Human Rightsalso tried to organize a protest outside the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court onTuesday, though it did not take place.

On Tuesday, the judge extended Siyam’s detention untilThursday, at which point the police will have to make a case for Siyam’scontinued detention, or he will be re-released to house arrest for anadditional five weeks. Siyam has been a defacto spokesperson and internationalactivist for the neighborhood of Silwan, appearing on foreign news programslike CBS’s 60 Minutes and others.

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