Ameer Makhoul has been in an Israeli jail for about six weeks now. Much of that time, he has been in solitary confinement and without access to a lawyer. He, his laywers, and his family say that he has been tortured, as we covered in a previous post. His trial is expected to begin in the next week.
His wife, Janan, is an incredible feminist activist in her own right. Nadia Hijab interviewed Janan on the day of she and Ameer’s daughter’s graduation from high school, which was also Ameer’s 52nd birthday. Janan said, in part:
I have a reponsibilty to my family members, Ameer, myself and the things we believe in. I’m strong because I believe in Ameer and what he is doing. We have dignity and identity, we have the right to protect ourselves , we have nothing more to lose–they pushed us beyond the limit . We need to keep going on and believing in what we are doing and in our rights, even if the personal price is so hard.
I’m afraid that Ameer was not the first and will not be the last one to be detained, to be harmed and suffer from persecution and torture, unless we all see the issue as our personal and collective issue. But I’m positive when I see all the support and solidarity locally and internationally, and I want, on behalf of Ameer and myself to thank all who supported us and to ask them to continue doing that and believing in Ameer.
Ameer has published a letter from jail. It is below in its entirety.
Letter from Gilboa Prison, Ameer Makhoul
After being allowed to get a pen and a piece of paper, which has been banned for the last three weeks, and after being allowed to get out of my total isolation, it’s a moment to write a short letter from my jail (Gilboa).
It’s a great opportunity for me to express my sincere thanks, greetings & appreciation to all the colleagues, friends and solidarity groups, organizations & persons, internationals, Arabs in the region, Israelis & Palestinians in the homeland & in the Diaspora. A very special salute to all those who visited my family and supported them after the trauma they passed in May 6 & since that late night.
It’s a moment to express my great appreciation to all the international & local human rights organizations which raised their voices loudly.
Also to Ittijah partner organizations all around the world which supported my/our struggle for justice and for a fair trial in order to get to prove my innocence.
Physically I am still suffering very much but morally it’s a great feeling to know what solidarity means.
My story is that the Israeli intelligence, “the shabak”, assumed something without knowing & without any evidence. I was requested and forced to explain to them in a very detailed way how exactly I did what I didn’t do, ever. In case of any logical problem for them to complete the puzzle, they have the legal tools to fill it in by so-called secret evidence, which my lawyers and I have no legal right to know about.
According to the media in Israel, I’m already guilty, a terrorist & a supporter terror. The rule of the game here is that I’m guilty whether or not I prove that I’m not. This collective assumption is prior to court & trial procedures.
The abuse of evidence & fair legal procedures are crucial. The Shabak can tell lies to the court by so called “secret evidence”, “banning meetings with lawyers”, “banning the publication of information,” “imposing total isolation” & other very sophisticated ways of torture, which leave no direct evidence although it is very harsh. (See Adalah: www.adalah.org). I believe that my case is an opportunity to examine these tools as tools for the criminalization of human rights defenders.
I would like to highlight again your support & solidarity. I look to it as a very essential & crucial message of support the victim and to stop the oppressor. Thank you. Let us continue with the way for justice, human dignity, human rights and ensuring an opportunity for a fair trial.
If you’d like to send messages of support and keep up with Ameer’s case, his Facebook page is here.