From the Editors
[The following letter was issued by a number of concerned individuals in response to the Palestinian Authority's detention and treatment of Zakaria Zubeidi, co-founder of the Freedom Theater.]
Open letter regarding the detention of Zakaria Zubeidi, co-founder of the Freedom Theatre.
For the attention of President Mahmoud Abbas:
We the undersigned write to ask you to ensure the proper application of Palestinian law in the case of Zakaria Zubeidi, and all cases of illegal imprisonment.
We respect Mr Zubeidi’s choice to follow cultural resistance and are dismayed at his current treatment, which circumvents Palestinian law.
We fully respect the independence of Palestinian law, and join Mr Zubeidi’s attorney in calling for equality and due process before the law.
Mr Zubeidi has been juggled between military and civilian law and for long periods of time been held at facilities run by the Palestinian Preventative Security Forces, with his case handled by the Military Prosecutor’s Office. This is despite Mr Zubeidi’s civilian status and the limit imposed by Palestinian law, which says detention by the Preventative Security forces must be limited to twenty-four hours.
We call for Mr Zubeidi’s case to be handled in the civilian courts in accordance with Palestinian law.
Mr Zubeidi was denied access to his attorney for the first forty-five days of his imprisonment and he was also denied the right to speak to his family for weeks after the arrest.
Mr Zubeidi is imprisoned in Jericho, despite the fact that he is being interrogated in connection to an incident that took place in Jenin, that he was arrested in Jenin and that his residency is in Jenin. This is illegal according to Palestinian law. Mr Zubeidi was also arrested without a warrant and his family was not notified until several days later.
Human Rights Watch has brought up a number of grave examples of inhumane treatment of Mr Zubeidi throughout his detention. During interrogation, officials forced Mr Zubeidi to drink water from a toilet. His arms were repeatedly tied together and raised in a painful elevated position for two days at a time, requiring him to stand and preventing him from sleeping. Mr Zubeidi was also tied to an iron door outside in the heat of the day.
We call for Zakaria Zubeidi’s immediate release from punitive detention, and ask for your help in ensuring a fair trial for any allegations for which there is sufficient evidence to stand up in court.
We call upon you to ensure that Palestinian law is upheld in this matter, and in all other matters involving illegal imprisonment or treatment of prisoners.
Jonathan Chadwick, Artistic Director, Az Theatre
Nejwa Ali, activist
David Solomon, Tower Hamlest Jenin Friendship Association
Gunnar Zetterberg, Tel Aviv
Paul Meyersburg, screenwriter
Noelle Ghoussaini, theatre artist
Najaty S. Jabary
Ibrahim Jabary Salamanca
Omar S. Jabary
Zoe Lafferty, Associate Director, The Red Room
Linda Chapman, Associate Artistic Director, New York Theatre Workshop
Frida Ullberg, former employee at The Freedom Theatre
Naomi Wallace, writer
Jen Marlowe, Board Member, Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre
Erin Mee, New York University
Alexis Ramsden, drama therapist University of Beirut
Carol Murry, Doctor of Public Health
Helga Edvindson, Tour Manager, Riksteatret
Maren Hoff, actress
Alexis Ioannou, actor
Sian Goff, actor
Topher Campbell, Artistic Director, The Red Room
Giovanni Pappotto, director
Arabella Lawson, actor
Jo Tyabji, director
Emily Smith, Photographer
Karin Pally, Women in Black Los Angeles
Robert Lyons, Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies University of Gothenburg
Sonia Fayman, Chair of the French Friends of the Freedom Theater in Jenin
Paul Birchard, actor and director
Dorothy M. Zellner,
Valentine Sergo, actor and director
Jacqueline Ricciardi, actor
Julie Gilbert, author
Caroline Day, Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association
Joop Hoekstra, Women in Black Groningen
Daniel Gott, Head of Drama, British School of Bahrain Performing Arts Academy
If you prefer, email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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