Ameer Makhoul

Ameer is a notable figure of the national Palestinian leadership and the international civil society as he is a human rights defender. Ameer serves as the general director of Ittijah – The Union of Arab Community Based Associations which is founded in 1995. He also serves as the Chairman of the Public Committee for the Defense of Political Freedom in the framework of the High Follow-up Committee for the Arab Citizens of Israel.

Ameer represents Ittijah and enjoys a special consultative status in the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC). He is also a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, a founder member of the EURO-MED NGO platform that includes 200 organizations, a distinguished member of CIVICUS (World Alliance for Citizen Participation) and a coordinator of the Coordination Unit for Palestinian Civil Society at Home and in Exile (Diaspora). As well, Ameer was one of the founders of the Mithaq al-Mussawa movement and the National Democratic Assembly at its early stages. He also served as a defender of women’s rights and an opponent to violence. He was a founding member of Badeel – a coalition against honor crimes in Arab society.

He was a former leader and founder of the Arab students’ movement in the eighties and a former president of the National Committee of Arab University Students in Israel.

He participated actively in tens of the international and regional conferences and he was the president of the delegation of Arab organizations from Israel at the 2001 World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa.

Besides his activist career, Ameer is a writer and analyst in political, social and civil society topics.  He participated in the writing and articulation of the Haifa Declaration that stated the vision for the future of Palestinians in the state of Israel.

Ameer is a resident of Haifa. He is married and a father of two daughters.

ARREST, DETENTION, TRIAL, AND SENTENCING

Ameer was arrested on the 6th of May 2010 by the Shabak (GSS). It took place when sixteen members of the Israeli police attacked the house brutally. They woke the family up around 3 a.m. by strong and frightening knocks on the door. They entered in the house, went into the rooms turned them upside down and confiscated the computer and the cell phones of the family, including his daughters’. They treated his wife and daughter very badly and talked to them violently. It’s worth mentioning that the Shabak had the search warrant for two weeks before the raid, but they intended doing it that way. They arrested Ameer and meanwhile another police group entered the offices of ITTJAH, took computers and other important materials of the organization. For more details click here. Following the arrest, “The Popular Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul” which aims at demanding an immediate release for Ameer and supporting him formed.

As known/for the record, almost 100% of people charged with so called “security charges” in Israel, were found guilty and sent to jail for a long time. During Ameer's trial, the persecution used “security evidence” that even the defence team of lawyers are not allowed to see or know what they are; people in Israel could be sent to jail and jailed for such a long time with this kind of evidence!! 

This is part of the escalation of the Israeli policy of prosecution against active political figures, leaders, human rights defenders and activists as an attempt to crush the popular movement to defend the rights and existence of the Palestinian people.

In October 2010, due to the advice of his lawyers team, Ameer admitted to contacting a foreign agent, conspiring to assisting an enemy in a time of war, and aggravated espionage for Hezbollah, as a part of a plea bargain. The most serious charge, “assisting an enemy in war,” which could have carried a life sentence, was dropped by the prosecution as a result of the bargain. The Haifa District Court sentenced Ameer in January 2011 to “nine years in prison and another year suspended sentence for charges of spying and contact with a foreign agent from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militant organization.”

On 31 January 2011, Ameer was sentenced by the district court of Haifa for 9 year jailing, added to this 2 years of conditional release.

Ameer’s case was one of the most covered by the media,during 2010-2011, and still on the agenda of many organizations, that continue to campaign for his release and send him solidarity.

However, Ameer and his family have since maintained that his confession was coerced. During his interrogation, Ameer was subjected to both physical and mental duress that constitute torture, including 72 hours of sleep deprivation being tied in legs and arms to a small and a low chair.

He was released in 2019.

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