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Urgent Interventions

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

New information

ISR 002 / 0820 / OBS 091.1


Israel / Occupied Palestinian Territory

August 18, 2020

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information in thefollowing situation in Israel and the OccupiedPalestinian Territory.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory hasbeen informed by reliable sources about the release of Mr. Mahmoud Nawajaa,General Coordinator of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)National Committee (BNC), a broad Palestinian civil society coalition thatleads the global BDS movement. BDS is an international movement which promotesa non-violent mobilisation to end Israel’s 1967 occupation, end its system ofracial discrimination and uphold the UN-stipulated right of Palestinianrefugees to return to their homes[1].

According to theinformation received, on August 17, 2020, the Salim military court ordered therelease without charges of Mr. Mahmoud Nawajaa at the request of the militaryprosecution, which failed to provide any evidence to indict him. The latter wasreleased from the Al-Jalama detention centre on the same day, after 19 days ofarbitrary detention (see background information).

The Observatorywelcomes Mr. Nawajaa’s release, but recalls that he should never have beendetained, as his detention was only aimed at punishing him for his legitimatehuman rights activities.

The Observatory moregenerally calls for the end of any kind of harassment, including at thejudicial level, against Mr. Mahmoud Nawajaa and all other human rights defendersin Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Background information:

On July 30, 2020, inthe middle of the night, Mr. Mahmoud Nawajaa was arrested at his home nearRamallah, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, by tens of Israeli soldierswho stormed his house, handcuffed and blindfolded him before taking him to theinterrogation centre of Al-Jalama prison, where he is still detained. Hislaptop and cellphone as well as his wife’s were confiscated during the raid.His arrest is believed to be a retaliation for his peaceful work with BDSagainst the alleged Israeli illegal annexation plan, which is illegal and wouldhave “a disastrous impact on human rights” throughout the Middle East accordingto the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 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 thehearing.

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.

However, on August 13,2020, the Salim military court extended his detention for an additional fivedays.

Besides, Mr. Nawajaawas denied his right to have access to a lawyer for eleven days. After apetition filed by Addameer to the Israeli High Court, the authorities finallylifted the ban to access a lawyer on August 10, 2020.


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. Put an end to allacts of harassment, including at thejudicial level, against Mr. Mahmoud Nawajaa and all other human rightsdefenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

iii. 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;

iv. 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 18, 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 is a Palestiniannon-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian politicalprisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons.

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