Monday, 29 June 2009

Free Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners

A Letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Please endorse and distribute widely!

Join dozens of organizations, academics and activists to endorse this letter to
Ban Ki-Moon, including the National Lawyers Guild, the Palestinian Youth
Network, UK MP George Galloway and many more! See full list of initial
endorsers below...

We are asking for your endorsement and that of your organization for the letter below, inspired by the hunger strike of imprisoned Palestinian national leader
Ahmad Sa'adat, calling upon United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to
uphold his responsibilities and take action to protect the rights, health and
lives of Palestinian prisoners and demand the freedom of all 11,000 Palestinian
political prisoners. This letter will be delivered to Ban Ki-Moon's office on
July 8, 2009. Please send your endorsement as quickly as possible in order to
ensure it is included, preferably before July 5, 2009
. This initiative is being
supported by the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat. Please send endorsements to We welcome endorsements from all organizations,
individuals, coalitions and institutions in support of the goals of this letter
and the rights and freedom of Palestinian prisoners.

Dear Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon;

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, call upon you to immediately
take action in defense of the lives, health and rights of the over 11,000
Palestinian political prisoners held inside Israeli occupation jails. This
number includes numerous elected members of Palestinian Legislative Council,
among them Ahmad Sa'adat, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine; Marwan al-Barghouthi, Fateh leader; Abdel-Aziz Dweik,
Hamas leader and President of the Council, just freed after three years in
prison, and dozens of other elected political leaders, in addition to thousands
of other Palestinian activists, union members, community organizers, fathers,
mothers, sons and daughters.

Palestinian prisoners suffer in conditions that violate international standards
and norms, and are imprisoned because they refuse to accept a brutal occupation
of their land and their people. Ahmad Sa'adat recently waged a nine-day hunger
strike in protest of the policy of isolation and solitary confinement that has
recently been escalated against Palestinian prisoners. Palestinian prisoners
have been denied family visits, at times for years, denied access to all books
and magazines, and denied even communication with their fellow prisoners in the
isolation units. Palestinian prisoners, including Sa'adat, are currently denied
necessary health care and medical treatment.

Palestinian prisoners are placed into isolation because they are national
leaders and because the Palestinian prisoner movement has been an inspiration
to all Palestinians and all who struggle for freedom. Ahmad Sa'adat's hunger
strike has sparked thousands of people around the world to appeal for his
release, as a living example who symbolizes the steadfastness and strength of
the Palestinian prisoners amid isolation and dire conditions, and it must
compel all of those outside the prisons to act. Many Palestinian and
international human rights and social justice organizations have called for the
release of Sa'adat and to ensure the safety of his life and health, as well as
for freedom and protection for all Palestinian prisoners.

The fate of these 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners is a fundamental issue
of justice. Palestinians, in Palestine and in exile, are denied their rights -
to return home, to self-determination, and to freedom, and those who seek to
secure those rights are subject to imprisonment, whether within the open-air
prisons of Gaza under siege or the walled-in West Bank, or the jails of the
occupation. The silent, and at times, active, complicity of international
agencies, particularly the United Nations, in the denial of Palestinian rights
must not continue.

We call upon you to uphold your responsibilities and exert all pressure to end
torture, cruel and inhuman treatment of Palestinian prisoners, and to free
every Palestinian political prisoner from Israel's occupation jails.


Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat

Al-Awda NY
American Iranian Friendship Committee
Arab American Union Members Council
Arab Muslim American Federation
Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
The Freedom Archives
Freedom Road Socialist Organization
International Action Center
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
International Socialist Organization
Jericho Movement - NYC
National Lawyers Guild
New Jersey Solidarity - Activists for the Liberation of Palestine
New Orleans Palestine Solidarity
NYC Labor Against the War
NY Committee For Human Rights in the Philippines
Palestine House
Palestinian Youth Network
PATOIS: New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival
Socialist Action
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) (Popular Conference)
War Times/Tiempo De Guerra
WESPAC Foundation

MP George Galloway, UK Parliament Member and coordinator of Viva Palestina USA
medical aid caravan to Gaza
Prof. Bashir Abu Manneh, Columbia University
Musa al-Hindi, Omaha, NE
Susan Abulhawa, author, Pennsylvania
Yousef Abudayyeh, California
Prof. Emeritus Naseer Aruri, Dartmouth University
Dr.C.J. Burns-Cox MD FRCP, Gloucester UK
James C. Faris, Director Emeritus, University of Connecticut Program in Middle
East Languages and Area Studies
Sara Flounders, co-director, International Action Center
Prof. Emerita Sherna Berger Gluck, California State University Long Beach
Prof. Emerita Elaine Hagopian, Simmons College
Dr. Tikva Honig-Parnass, Jerusalem
Paul Hubbard, Providence, RI
Monadel Herzallah, San Francisco, CA
Charlotte Kates, attorney
Basem Khader, Chappaqua, NY
Peter Klosterman, Ph.D. Oakland, CA
Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Former
President, Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325
Dr. Renee Levant, Instructor, Master of Liberal Studies Program, Fort Hays
State University
Professor Moshé Machover, London School of Economics
Dr. Bruce J. Malina, Dept of Theology, Creighton University
Ali Mili, Phillipsburg, NJ
Harald Molgaard, Twickenham, UK
Ardeshir and Eleanor Ommani, Founders, AIFC,
Dr. Nagesh Rao, Assistant Professor of English, The College of New Jersey
Dr. Ahdaf Soueif, author
Professor Mustapha Soueif, University of Cairo
Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, M.D., USA
Tony Whelan, London, UK

This letter will be delivered to Ban Ki-Moon's office on July 8, 2009. Please
send your endorsement as quickly as possible in order to ensure it is included,
preferably before July 5, 2009. This initiative is being supported by the
Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat. Please send endorsements to

BBC biased towards Israel in news reporting

Despite the attacks of the pro-Israel lobby on the BBC it is in fact a wholeheartedly pro-Israel organisation and this is shown graphically through its use of Israeli sources in preference to Palestinian ones, a new research report shows.

The refusal of the BBC to broadcast the recent Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza was but one episode among many. Senior Middle East reporter Jeremy Bowen was recently castigated by his bosses for sounding pro-Palestinian. What they mean is he reports the truth and tries to convey something of the suffering of the people in Gaza.

More at the Guardian:

Israel uses electric shock torture on Palestinian children

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The Palestinian prisoner club accused the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) of committing new crimes of corporal torture against children through giving them electric shocks and beating them severely.

The club said that Palestinian child Hamza Al-Za’aol, who was kidnapped on the fourth of May on a charge of throwing stones, told club lawyers that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) used electric shocks against him in Etzion prison while another child detained on the same day called Ismail Al-Za’aol said he was severely beaten especially in his broken leg.

The club revealed that the number of children kidnapped during the first quarter of 2009 rose to 443 prisoners after kidnapping 14 minors this year.

In another related context, the popular committee against torture said in a report issued Wednesday that the IOF troops and the Shin Bet security service deliberately tortured Palestinian detainees through handcuffing them in a painful manner contrary to international law.

The committee said that its report depended on 574 cases of arrest and interrogation during the last year and on testimonies collected from Israeli soldiers by the organization of breaking the silence that is concerned about reporting on IOF troops’ violations.