FOR IMMEDIATE 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
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