March 20, 2013

March Updates from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Wed., March 20 – Call-in day for release of Issawi & all Palestinian political prisoners

Wednesday, March 20th
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM CDT

Samer Issawi continues on his hunger strike–which is in its 240th day–until he wins an absolute agreement that guarantees his release. 

International pressure has led the Israelis to release hunger striker Ayman Sharwarna, even though he will be deported to Gaza, an action that also violates Ayman’s rights, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: “Forcible deportation is a form of collective punishment prohibited under the fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits ‘individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not.'” 

Also, the Israelis continue to harass the Issawi family. An Israeli court has sentenced Medhat Issawi, Samer’s brother, to 20 months for organizing solidarity events with prisoners in Jerusalem.

Now more than ever, we need to keep the pressure on the U.S. government to demand the unconditional release of Samer Issawi. President Obama starts his trip to Palestine on Wednesday. Let him and the U.S. State Department know that we demand he tell the Israelis to release Samer Issawi and all Palestinian political prisoners.

We again ask all activists, especially those in the U.S., to call President Obama and the State Department, Wednesday, March 20th, from 8 AM to 4 PM CDT, to take action.

“My name is _____ from __________ and I demand that the U.S. administration demand that the Israelis release hunger striker Samer Issawi and all the Palestinian administrative detainees and political prisoners held by Israel.”

  • Call President Obama at 1-202-456-1111
  • Call US Secretary of State John Kerry at 1-202-647-4000 (pick option 4 for the operator and ask to leave a message for Kerry)
  • Call the Office of Near East Affairs at 1-202-647-7209 (you will get transferred to Marguerite Pickett to leave a message)

During President Obama’s two-day trip to Palestine, it will be even more important to continue the worldwide campaign on Twitter at 1 p.m. CDT on Weds. and Thurs. to demand the release of Samer Issawi.
Check @samerissawi1 for the hashtag to use.

For updates on the worldwide campaign, follow “The Free Samer Issawi Campaign” page on Facebook
Issawi had been detained by Israeli authorities without any charge whatsoever. He had been released from prison in October 2011 as a part of the Shalit prisoner swap, but was detained again without charge on July 7, 2012, and has been refusing food since August 2012 to protest his detention. 

Sponsored by:
Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG) – Chicago
Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights (CMPR)
U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) – National
USPCN – Chicago
Committee Against Political Repression (CAPR)
Coalition to Protect People’s Rights (CPPR)
Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR)
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) – Chicago
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) – Chicago
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – Chicago

March 24-26: Florida speaking tour against repression

Free the Holy Land Five, Stop FBI Repression! 
Three nationally known speakers are touring Florida to end U.S. government political repression against Arab-Americans, Muslims, and anti-war activists.

  • Author Noor Elashi speaks about the personal and political impact of having her father Ghassan Elashi imprisoned by the US government for Muslim charity work.
  • Attorney John Cline, lawyer for the Holy Land Five, explains the bias and problems with the trials, appeals, and legal process.
  • Mick Kelly, editor of Fight Back! newspaper, speaks about the FBI raid on his home and the 23 anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists subpoenaed to a grand jury in Chicago. Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas who prosecuted the Holy Land Five says there is an ongoing investigation.

Three Events: Tampa — Tallahassee — Gainesville
1. Tampa
Sunday, March 24, 7 PM,
First United Church of Tampa, 7308 E. Fowler Ave.

RSVP on facebook:
Monday, March 25, 7 PM
75 North Woodward Avenue, Oglesby Union, Room 320, Florida State University

RSVP on facebook:
Tuesday, March 26, 6:30 PM
Little Hall, Room 109, University of FL

RSVP on facebook:
Ghassan Elashi, director of the largest Muslim charity, raised funds and provided food, medical care, shelter and education to countless people in need, both in Palestine and the U.S. Instead of being honored for humanitarianism, the Holy Land Five were charged under the Bush administration with ‘material support for terrorism.’ Their first trial in Dallas ended in a hung jury. Jurors were not convinced of links between the health clinics and schools that received donations on the one hand, and the Palestinian Hamas movement that the U.S. government now opposes and criminalizes.
The U.S. government, not satisfied, brought in Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas who won convictions by using secret witnesses never identified to the defense, hearsay evidence, and a shock video showing protesters in Palestine burning an American flag. This prejudiced the jurors. The Holy Land Five are imprisoned with sentences ranging from 15 to 65 years. Held in Communication Management Units, which are specially designated punishment prisons for Muslims, Arab-Americans, and political activists, the conditions violate the prisoners’ human rights.
Sponsored by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression at and the Freedom To Give at