Hamas Releases Gazan Peace Activists Jailed for Zoom with Israel
Gaza’s Hamas authorities released two Gazan peace activists Monday imprisoned since April 2020 for participating in an online videoconference with Israelis. Eight members of the Gaza Youth Committee were detained after taking part in a Zoom teleconference with peace activists, including some from Israel. Though five were released days after the event and one paid bail in July, the final two were held until Monday, some seven months after their detention on charges of treason and “weakening revolutionary sprit.” The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a local group that defended the three prisoners, said a military court freed them on the basis of time served of a one-year sentence. Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, told The Media Line, “The fact that he [activist Rami Aman] spent more than six months in custody for a video chat highlights Hamas’ larger persecution of journalists, opponents and activists who do not toe the party line. So long as Hamas continues on this path, we’ll continue to hear about activists like Rami jailed for their nonviolent speech.” Hamas’ political and military control of Gaza began in 2007. Since then, Hamas and Israel have fought three wars, the latest in 2014.