Palestinian Authority releases human rights activist it arrested for criticism


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority released from prison a Palestinian human rights activist who had been arrested for criticizing the government on Facebook.

Issa Amro, 35, was arrested a week ago after he took to Facebook to criticize the arrest of a local journalist who had called for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s resignation. He reportedly was released on $1,400 bail.

He had gone on a hunger strike in Palestinian prison to protest his arrest, and said upon his release that he was verbally and physically abused while in custody, the Associated Press reported.

Amro, who advocates non-violent resistance against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and co-founded the group Youth Against Settlements, was indicted last year by an Israeli military court on a number of charges, including entering closed military zones and obstructing soldiers, according to Haaretz. His trial in that case is to resume in October.

Some 32 Democratic members of Congress in June sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling for him to intervene with Israel in Amro’s case. The letter questioned whether Amro would be judged fairly in the Israeli judicial system.

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