Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet and citizen of Israel, was convicted by the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on 3 May 2018 on charges of incitement to violence and support for terror organisations. Tatour has spent more than two years in jail or under house arrest since October 2015. She is currently awaiting her sentencing hearing, which has been postponed until 31 July 2018. The prosecution previously asked for her to be sentenced to between 15 and 26 months in prison.
In a recent interview with PEN International, Tatour described the impact that her ongoing house arrest and the fact that she is forbidden from publishing her work has had on her:
When poets write, it is with the purpose of publishing their writings; if these were to remain unpublished, they would feel crushed by their weight. That is why I felt that all the poems I wrote were soul-crushing. It was extremely hard to accept that I would write without communicating my message to others. Nevertheless, I always have hope, for I am certain that imprisonment will end no matter how long it would last, and therefore I will publish my writings and more than make up for what I have missed out on during the intervening period. Imprisonment is very hard on me as a poet, as it would even be on any artist; the mere thought of my poems being not being published and read by others is extremely difficult. At any rate, it is possible to imprison the body of a poet, an artist or a writer, but their imagination can never be imprisoned.
PEN has carefully reviewed the charge sheet and the evidence against Tatour, and concludes that she has been prosecuted exclusively for her poetry and peaceful activism. Tatour’s conviction is mainly related to a video, which Tatour posted on YouTube, in which she recites one of her poems entitled,‘Qawim ya sha’abi, qawimhum (Resist, my people, resist them).’ We uphold our previous calls upon the Israeli authorities to end the judicial harassment of Tatour and immediately and unconditionally release her.
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Write to the Israeli authorities
Please send appeals to the Israeli authorities:
- Calling them to end the judicial proceedings against Tatour as she is being held solely for her peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression;
- Urging them to release poet Dareen Tatour from house arrest immediately and unconditionally.
Minister of Justice
Ayelet Shaked Ministry of Justice 9 Salah al-Din Street Jerusalem 91010 Israel Fax: +972 2 628 5438 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Avichai Mendelbilt Ministry of Justice 29 Salah al-Din Street Jerusalem 91010 Israel Fax: +972 2 530 3367 Email: email@example.com
Ministry of Justice The Office of the Deputy Attorney General (International Law)
Alisa Gannel, Adv. P. O. B ox 929 9 Tel Aviv 6 1 092 Israel Fax: +97 2-3 -68 99 80 1 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please copy your appeals to the Embassy of Israel in your country. A list of embassies can be found here: http://www.allembassies.com/israeli_embassies.htm.
Please also send us copies of your letters or information about other activities and of any responses received.
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Sign the petition
If you have not already done so, consider signing this petition for Tatour: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/dareen/