Press Release from the Freedom Theatre on Zakaria

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Press Release
The Freedom Theatre, Jenin Refugee Camp, Occupied Palestine

September 17, 2012

 

The Freedom Theatre co-founder Zakaria Zubeidi detained by PA a further 19 days, vows to continue food and fluid strike to the death

 

Zakaria Zubeidi, co-founder of The Freedom Theatre, was today sentenced to another 19 days in Palestinian Authority prison. Zubeidi responded by declaring that he was resuming a full hunger strike and from this point on would not eat, drink or speak.

 

“This court and this judge made an unfair decision against me, Zubeidi said in an extremely weak voice. “I’ve been in prison for a long time without evidence. This morning the doctor told me I have three days to live if I don’t drink water. So this court has decided to kill me.”

 

Zubeidi was supporting himself on the railing as he stood. He took off his shirt, revealing a noticeably thin torso, and pointed out the multiple bullet wounds he had obtained from his years as a fighter against Israeli occupation. “I have been a freedom fighter since I was born, and it’s unjust for me to die here.”

 

“This decision is unjust and means you want to kill me, but I want to choose how I will die. In four days, there will be a funeral from Jericho to Jenin”, Zubeidi concluded.

 

Zubeidi’s wife, who attended the hearing, broke down in tears when the ruling was announced. She said: “This is a humiliation for the Palestinian resistance. Someone who was the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in 2002 is now suffering inside a Palestinian Authority prison instead of an Israeli prison.”

 

The court hearing was also attended by members of The Freedom Theatre and friends of Zubeidi’s from all over the world. Zubeidi was clearly touched by the support, waving and smiling to his colleagues and friends. When the proceedings ended, international and Palestinian supporters stood and chanted “Shame! Shame! The world is watching you!” and “This is Palestinian democracy? You are no better than the Israelis!”

 

The judge ordered a further 19 days of detention for Zubeidi, bowing to the prosecution’s request for “more time to finish the investigation” stating that these 19 days was the prosecution’s final chance to bring charges against Zubeidi, who has been in the custody of the Palestinian Security Forces since May 13. No charges or evidence of wrongdoing have been presented.

 

“Zakaria was the person who inspired me to stay in Palestine to join the struggle for freedom against occupation,” said Jonatan Stanczak, Managing Director of the Freedom Theatre. ‘The Palestinian Authority has succeeded with what the Israelis did not: to kill Zakaria. The PA has learnt their lesson from the Israelis very well, to the extent that they have become themselves part of the occupation.”

 

 

 

 

For more information:

 

Jonatan Stanczak, Managing Director of The Freedom Theatre

+972(0)599017654

+972(0)543915708

jonatan@thefreedomtheatre.org

http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org

 

 

Note to Editors:

For more background, see Human Rights Watch statement: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/07/27/israelpalestinian-authority-theater-group-hit-both-sides

 

Latest Article and THJFA Action on Zakaria

A very good article has just been published by Haaretz on Zakaria Zubeidi.

Tower Hamlets Jenin Freidnship Association supports the work of the Jenin Freedom Theatre and Zakaria.

We will be sending in the following letter to all our MPs and handing in a similar letter to the Palestinian Embassy on Friday at 2pm:

We are members Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association, one of several organisations twinning boroughs in the UK with towns / cities in Palestine.  Our association, as you probably know, is involved in supporting Palestine in general, and Jenin and the Jenin refugee camp in particular.  We organise volunteer programs, host Palestinian speakers and visitors and raise public awareness of Palestinian issues in our country.

 

We are writing to you as a supporter of the Palestinian cause because we are very disturbed by the news we have received about the detention without charge of Zakaria Zubeidi a prominent figure in Jenin refugee camp.  Zakaria, was one of the founders of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Camp, which has had a huge influence through its work in drawing international attention to the Palestinian situation and its effect on people there.  In 2005 he renounced armed struggle and devoted himself to resistance by peaceful cultural means.  Last year, the amnesty he was given by the Israelis was revoked without any reason being given.

 

Since his arrest and detention by the Palestinian Authority four months ago, he has not been charged with anything or brought to trial.  We have now learnt that he has now declared that he will embark on a total hunger strike including fluids.  Given that the illegal Israeli practice of administrative detention has rightly caused an international outcry, we think it is absolutely wrong that Zakaria should be treated in a similar manner by the Palestinian Authority itself, for reasons that we can only guess at.  We consider that this action will harm the Palestinian cause especially if Zakaria persists in his decision and he ends his life, which could easily happen in a short time.

 

We appeal to you as a friend of the Palestinians to use any influence you have to persuade the Palestinian Authority either to charge Zakaria and put him on trial if it thinks he is guilty of anything, or to release him at the earliest possible time.  This is extremely urgent.  Zakaria’s death would be a tragedy for his family and for the people of Jenin Camp, and it will damage the Palestinian cause.   It is essential that in opposing the unjust Israeli occupation, the Palestinian Authority firmly puts itself on the side of human rights and the rule of law.

 

Yours sincerely,

THJFA

 

URGENT CALL FOR ACTION: Free Zakaria Zubeidi

CALL FOR ACTION

From The Freedom Theatre
Jenin, West Bank, Occupied Palestine
September 10, 2012

On the 9th of September Zakaria Zubeidi announced that he will embark on a death fast, a complete food and fluid strike, in response to the continuous postponement of his release from Palestinian Authority prison. This effectively means that unless the Palestinian Authority releases Zakaria he will most probably not make it through the week.

Zubeidi, co-founder of The Freedom Theatre and former leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, has been imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority for close to four months. No charges have been made against him, no evidence presented and throughout his imprisonment his rights has been severely violated, as described by among others Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/07/27/israelpalestinian-authority-theater-group-hit-both-sides).

Being one of the last survivors of Arna’s Children(1), Zakaria joined the armed resistance during the second Intifada and became one of its leading figures. After co-founding The Freedom Theatre in 2006 Zakaria decided to lay down his weapons in order to join a cultural resistance, which he deemed a more powerful tool against the Israeli occupation. Surviving numerous assassination attempts by the Israeli army and vowing to never again enter an Israeli prison, Zakaria is now instead facing death in a Palestinian prison unless immediate action is taken.

The Freedom Theatre urges all its friends and supporters to:

  • Contact the local representative office of the Palestinian Authority(2) and demand Zakaria Zubeidi’s release. Since the situation is urgent we also ask you to take more direct actions such as organising protests at PA representative offices.
  • Contact local or regional human rights offices and organisations such as Amnesty International and urge them to take action.
  • Contact your local MP and MEP and urge them to take action.
  • Contact your country’s representative office in the occupied Palestinian territory and urge them to take action(3).
  • Call these numbers to demand Zakaria’s release: +972 (0)599000011 Abo Mohammad Shadeh, Head of the Palestinian Authority President’s Security Office, +972(0)2000011 Said Abualheja, Ministry of Interior , +972 (0)-597778887 Majd Faraj, Head of Palestinian Intelligence

The Freedom Theatre will continue to monitor Zakaria’s case closely and we will keep you updated.

SAMPLE LETTER

To [Name], representative of the Palestinian Authority

I am a staunch supporter of the Palestinian people and therefore I am now contacting you on an urgent matter. It has come to my knowledge that Zakaria Zubeidi, co-founder of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin and former military leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has been kept in Palestinian prison for over four months without any charges or accusations brought against him. I have also been informed that Zakaria’s human rights have been violated on several accounts and that as a result he has started a death fast, refusing water or food. That means that he will die within 8-10 days and most probably before that suffer irreversible effects to his health. I urge you to take immediate actions for Zakaria’s release. If you, as a representative of the Palestinian Authority will allow Zakaria to die then you must also know that I and many others will consider you partly responsible for his death.I trust that you understand the need for your immediate response to this case.

Sincerely Yours,

[Name]

[Place]
REFERENCES

Previous press releases, background and updates

Zakaria Zubeidi remains in prison (02092012)
http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=275

Zakaria Zubeidi’s release postponed (27082012)
http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=274

Zakaria Zubeidi to be released on bail (22082012)
http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=272

Zakaria Zubeidi temporarily released (19082012)
http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=271

Human Rights Watch calls for end to harassment of The Freedom Theatre (28072012)
http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=263

New information on Nabil and Zakaria (11072012)
http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=257

Nabil and Zakaria on hunger strike (05072012)
http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=256

Latest news on Nabil and Zakaria (01072012)
http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=251

Action Alert: Free Nabil Al-Raee and Zakaria Zubeidi (07062012)
http://www.thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=239