Amnesty International says the charges being brought against a prominent Palestinian human rights activist are “baseless” and must be dropped.
The founder of al-Khalil (Hebron)-based Youth Against Settlements campaign group, Issa Amro, is scheduled to appear before an Israeli court on Wednesday over 18 charges.
According to the Amnesty on Tuesday, most of the charges are related to cases already closed, and one is related to an assault incident that occurred when he was already under arrest.
"The deluge of charges against Issa Amro does not stand up to any scrutiny," said Amnesty's Magdalena Mughrabi. "If he is convicted, we will consider Issa Amro a prisoner of conscience," she added.
“As well as dropping the baseless and politically motivated charges against Issa Amro, the Israeli authorities should investigate his allegations of beatings in custody, and the physical and verbal abuse hurled at him by settlers, the army and the police. People who speak out about human rights abuses should be protected, not assaulted and harassed,” she noted.
The Israeli military claims that Amro had "taken part in riots, attacks on soldiers, calls to violence, and prevented security forces from doing their work."
Amro denies ever using violence against Israeli forces. "On the contrary, I am a person who advocates non-violence," he said.
He stressed that his trial is a political decision by the Tel Aviv regime to target his human rights work.
There are reportedly more than 6,500 Palestinians held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention, which is a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.