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Ahmad Qatamesh: Israeli Prisoner of Conscience

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Ahmad Qatamesh: Israeli Prisoner of Conscience - by Stephen Lendman

Qatamesh is one of many hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners.

On April 21, 2011 at 2:00AM, Israeli soldiers arrested Qatamesh at his brother's Ramallah home.

An hour earlier, his wife (Suha), daughter (Hanin), and two female relatives were held hostage to force his surrender.

At gunpoint, they forced Hanin to call him. When connected, a soldier threatened to hold his family hostage and destroy his house if he didn't surrender.

On May 2, in an Electronic Intifada article , Hanin recounted her ordeal, saying:

After breaking in and occupying their home, "(t)hey pointed their machine guns at us and told us they wanted to search the house."

"After a futile search, the soldiers went to the apartment right above ours whose owners - US citizens - were away. They knocked down the main door and wrecked the place."

"They confiscated our phones, disconnecting us from the outside world....The commander forced me at gunpoint to call my father....He then grabbed my phone and shouted at him, 'Surrender yourself or we'll destroy the house!' "

"Perhaps the most important principle that I learned from my dad was never to allow obstacles to keep me from realizing my dreams. I will continue to dream of Palestinian freedom. Along the way, I will continue to expose the brutality of Israel's occupation and our land - and houses."

Qatamesh's wife Suha said:

"It's so clear that he is there because of his ideas and political activism. He is a prisoner of conscience and he is there because of political reasons."

After arrest, he was taken to Ofer detention center in Beitunia.

At the time, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association expressed grave concern, saying:

"not only because (it's) motivated by his political opinions and beliefs and as such should be considered a case of arbitrary detention, but also because (he's) been (targeted by) Israeli authorities before on numerous occasions, notably" for long incarcerations without charge.

Addameer later composed an undated letter to Netanyahu, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, and other Israeli officials on his behalf for supporters to sign and use. In part it says:

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.
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