HEBRON (AFP) – A Palestinian court agreed on Sunday to release a prominent activist on bail after his arrest on September 4 following his criticism of president Mahmud Abbas’s administration, his lawyer said.
Issa Amro was detained by Palestinian security forces in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on accusations including causing strife, human rights activists say.
His lawyer, Muhannad Karaja, said he has also been accused of creating websites that “aim to undermine the state’s security” in violation of a new Palestinian law against cyber crime.
The law has been criticised by human rights groups who say it could be used to target critics of the Palestinian leadership.
“We asked for Issa to be released on bail and the prosecution and the court agreed on this in exchange for a deposit of 1,000 Jordanian dinars ($1,400, 1,200 euros),” Karaja told AFP.
“Issa will appear later before the court regarding this case and all the charges against him.”
The hearing was held in secret, with journalists not allowed inside.
Dozens of activists protested outside prosecutors’ offices on Sunday over Amro’s detention, some with duct tape over their mouths.
Amro is the founder of Youth Against Settlements, a campaign group in the tense city of Hebron where Jewish settlers live in heavily guarded enclaves in the centre.
He was detained after criticising the Palestinian Authority’s arrest of a journalist from Hebron.
Palestinian officials have not publicly commented on Amro’s detention.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both criticised his arrest.
Amnesty has called it the “latest evidence that the Palestinian authorities are determined to continue with their repressive campaign against free speech.”
Separately, Amro is on trial by Israel on a range of charges dating back to 2010.
He has rejected all the charges, saying they are politically motivated to prevent his peaceful resistance to Israel’s occupation.