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Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Mahmoud Nawajaa, General Coordinator of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee

ISR 002 / 0820 / OBS 091

Arbitrary detention

Israel / Occupied Palestinian Territory

August 12, 2020

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your intervention in thefollowing situation in Israel and the OccupiedPalestinian Territory.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory hasbeen informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention of Mr. MahmoudNawajaa, General Coordinator of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment andSanctions (BDS) National Committee (BNC), a broad Palestinian civil societycoalition that leads the global BDS movement. BDS is an international movementwhich promotes a non-violent mobilisation to end Israel’s 1967 occupation, endits system of racial discrimination and uphold the UN-stipulated right ofPalestinian refugees to return to their homes[1].

According to theinformation received, on July 30, 2020, in the middle of the night, Mr. MahmoudNawajaa was arrested at his home near Ramallah, in the Occupied PalestinianTerritory, by tens of Israeli soldiers who stormed his house, handcuffed andblindfolded him before taking him to the interrogation centre of Al-Jalamaprison, where he is still detained. His laptop and cellphone as well as hiswife’s were confiscated during the raid. His arrest is believed to be a retaliationfor his peaceful work with BDS against the alleged Israeli illegal annexationplan, which is illegal and would have “a disastrous impact on human rights”throughout the Middle East according to the UN High Commissioner for HumanRights Michelle Bachelet[2].

On August 2, 2020, Mr.Nawajaa attended a hearing in an Israeli military court near Jenin held viavideoconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court ordered an additional15-day detention, although no evidence or charges were presented at the hearing.

On August 4, 2020,after an appeal submitted by the NGO Addameer[3], the court reduced hisdetention to eight days. However, it was extended again for another eight dayson August 9, 2020. Following the submission of another appeal, the NGO reachedan agreement with the head of the interrogation team in Al-Jalama detentioncentre to reduce Mr. Nawajaa’s detention until August 13, 2020.

Furthermore, Mr.Nawajaa was denied his right to have access to a lawyer for eleven days. Aftera petition filed by Addameer to the Israeli High Court, the authorities finallylifted the ban to access a lawyer on August 10, 2020.

The Observatoryexpresses its utmost concern about the arbitrary detention of Mr. Nawajaa whichseems to be only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rightsactivities.

The Observatory urgesthe Israeli authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. MahmoudNawajaa and put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judiciallevel, against him.


Please write to yourrespective governments demanding that they apply effective pressure on theauthorities of Israel to:

i. Guarantee in allcircumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr.Mahmoud Nawajaa and all other human rights defenders in Israel and the OccupiedPalestinian Territory;

ii. Immediately andunconditionally release Mr. Mahmoud Nawajaa, as well as all human rightsdefenders arbitrarily detained in Israel and the Occupied PalestinianTerritory;

iii. Put an end to allacts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. MahmoudNawajaa and all other human rights defenders in Israel and the OccupiedPalestinian Territory;

iv. Comply with theprovisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by theGeneral Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 5 and 12.2;

v. More generally,ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamentalfreedoms throughout Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in accordancewith international human rights instruments, including the right to advocatefor peaceful campaigns for Palestinian rights, which the European Court ofHuman Rights recently considered as protected freedom of expression.


Pleasealso write to the diplomatic representations of Israel in your respectivecountries.


Paris-Geneva,August 12, 2020

Kindly inform us of anyaction undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) wascreated in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). Theobjective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations ofrepression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of , the European Union Human Rights DefendersMechanism implemented by international civil society.

Tocontact the Observatory, call the emergency line:


Teland fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

Teland fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] As stated in the United Nations GeneralAssembly Resolution 194 (III), paragraph 11, from December 11, 1948.

[2] See :

[3] Addameer(Arabic word for “conscience”) Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association isa Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to supportPalestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons.

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