Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (8 September) on the arrest of the Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro:
I am very concerned about the arrest of Issa Amro by the Palestinian security services. It is generally assumed that he was arrested because of comments he made on social media criticising the Government.
The right to freedom of opinion is anchored in the Palestinian Basic Law. What is more, by signing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2014, President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority entered into an obligation to protect this right.
To date, no solid legal grounds have been put forward which could justify the arrest. Mr Amro should therefore be released from prison immediately.
Issa Amro, who is recognised by the European Union and the United Nations as a human rights defender and is founder and coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, was arrested by Palestinian security forces on 4 September 2017. He may have been arrested in reaction to a comment he posted on Facebook criticising the arrest of a radio journalist. Among other things, he is accused of posing a threat to public order. Mr Amro began a hunger strike on 5 September 2017 in protest against his detention.