In Brief: Hamas court convicts peace activists over Zoom call with Israelis


A military court in Gaza this week convicted three Palestinian peace activists for holding a video call with Israelis in April. Rami Aman, the head of the Gaza Youth Committee, was sentenced to a year in prison after being found guilty of “weakening revolutionary spirit”. However, the court said it would “halt” implementation of the sentence and release Aman, who has been illegally detained by Hamas for six months. Two other activists were also convicted: one, Manar al-Sharif, had already been freed on bail and has moved to Egypt, while an unnamed third activist was released on the basis of time served. The two-hour Zoom call earlier this year was attended by more than 200 participants, including individuals from Europe and the US. Omar Shakir, the Human Rights Watch director for Israel and Palestine, welcomed Aman’s release but said that his lengthy detention highlighted “Hamas’s larger persecution of journalists, opponents and activists who do not toe the party line.” The Gaza Youth Committee is a member of the Alliance for Middle East Peace. Its director, John Lyndon, said: “We are so pleased that Rami and his colleagues are with their families. Yet they should have never been arrested in the first place.” He added: “Their activities are time-proven conflict resolution tools that are protected under international law, and we will continue to defend their legitimacy and efficacy, and our members’ right to engage in them freely, without intimidation or censure.”
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