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Israeli Court Rules to Keep Palestinian Clown in Jail Without Trial

Mohammed Abu Saha’s arrest sparked an international campaign by circus performers for his release. Though no charges have been filed against him, Shin Bet claims he’s a member of the PFLP terrorist group.

Haaretz, Jun 13, 2016

Mohammed Abu Saha, a circus performer and teacher, has been under administrative detention since December 14, 2015

  • IN PHOTOS: Palestinians take protesting to the circus

  • Israel holding Palestinian circus performer in detention without trial for three months

  • Mohammed Abu Saha, a Palestinian circus clown and trainer will be held without trial for another six months, the Palestinian Circus School near Ramallah in the West Bank reported on its Facebook page on Monday.

    Circus performers around the world have mobilized in support of Abu Saha, 24, who has been in an Israeli jail under administrative detention since December 14, 2015. His original six month detention was to have expired on Monday, if it was not renewed. 

    “No freedom for Abu Saha. Administrative detention order extended with another 6 months. Our hearts are heavy. May Abu Saha be granted the strength to endure this big injustice,” reads the Facebook post.

    The IDF has yet to comment on the matter.

    The Shin Bet security service has said Abu Saha is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, and constitutes a security risk that could not be addressed any other way other than through administrative detention.

    Over the past six months, protests have been held around the world over Abu Saha’s detention without trial. Circus groups, including those in Spain, France, Denmark, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina, have posted pictures of themselves on social media holding signs calling for his release. Activists have held small demonstrations and posted videos, including songs specially composed as part of the effort, on the matter. More than 12,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Abu Saha’s release. Amnesty International also called for his release.

    In response to an inquiry on the matter, the spokesman’s office at the Shin Bet told Haaretz in March: “Abu Saha was arrested on December 14, 2015 due to information regarding his recent activity in the Popular Front organization. In light of the danger that Abu Saha poses to the security of the region, and in the absence of an alternative, a Shin Bet recommendation was sent to the military commander to order his administrative detention.”