Petition to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’
Why this petition matters
Palestinian human rights activist Sami Huraini was convicted by an Israeli military court on August 22, despite video evidence and multiple witnesses proving he was not guilty of the charges against him. He will be sentenced October 30.
Sami was arrested by Israeli forces during a pre-dawn raid on his home in the West Bank village of At-Tuwani on January 9, 2020. The arrest occurred just hours after Sami’s participation in a nonviolent demonstration in the neighboring village of Al Rakeez, where Israeli soldiers shot and paralyzed an unarmed Palestinian man on New Year’s day. Despite a complete lack of evidence and the peaceful nature of the protests, Mr Huraini has been charged with obstructing the peace and assaulting an Israeli soldier.
Mr Huraini is a leading human rights activist in the Masafer Yatta (South Hebron Hills) area. Residents of At Tuwani believe that his arrest is part of an effort to target him for his effectiveness as a community organizing and leadership of the nonviolent protests that have followed the January 1 shooting in nearby Al Rakeez. His arrest is an example of the widespread targeting of activists by the Israeli military courts. The Israeli practice of trying Palestinians in Israeli military courts results a conviction rate of over 99 percent and cannot be defended as just or democratic.
We ask that you call on the Israeli government to drop the politically-motivated charges against Sami Huraini so that he can continue his work to protect human rights.
Here is Sami’s statement:
Today, 22 August 2023, Israel’s Ofer Military Court convicted me of two of the three charges against me, and for which I have been on trial since the start of 2021. The sentence that will be imposed on me by the Israeli military judge is set to take place in a court hearing on October 30, 2023 at 10.00 am in Ofer Military Court. The penalty that will be imposed on me is not known yet, but might include banning me from the peaceful activist work I am engaged in, imprisoning me, or forcing me to pay a fine. I will be punished for crimes I never committed. This unjust and unfair trial, in a court run by the Israeli occupation and operated by Israeli settlers, began when I and other activists called for justice for Harun Abu Aram by participating in a peaceful protest in 2021. Harun was shot by an Israeli soldier in the neck at point blank while he was trying to stop the army from confiscating a power generator belonging to his family in January 2021. Harun was paralyzed for two years until his death in February 2023 after he succumbed to his wounds. The Israeli murderer of Harun is free and was never, and will never be held accountable by Israel. On the other hand, as a human rights defender, I am being punished for defending my people’s human rights. This is part of Israeli attempts to silence and repress HRDs in their struggle for justice, freedom and human rights. Thank you all for attending today’s verdict hearing and for your solidarity and support. Please raise your voices in support of HRDs in Masafer Yatta and beyond. #DefendTheDefenders, #StopTargetingSami