Exclusive interview with Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour from her home, where she remains under house arrest
(This interview was published in Salon.com on August 10, 2016)
Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was arrested because of her posts on social media.
In October, police raided her home in the middle of the night. They handcuffed Tatour, a 35-year-old poet, and took her away.
“You look like a terrorist,” an interrogator told her. The Israeli government accused Tatour of inciting violence with her poetry and Facebook posts.
She faces up to eight years in prison, if convicted on all charges. Her case is still pending, and the trial will resume on Sep. 6.
Tatour has already spent three months in Israeli prisons, and another six months under house arrest in an apartment near Tel Aviv, which her family was forced to pay for.
In late July, an Israeli judge ruled that she can continue her house arrest in her family’s home near Nazareth.
The judge’s decision came after more than 250 prominent writers, intellectuals and artists published an open letter calling for Tatour’s release. Among those who endorsed the letter were Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Dave Eggers, Claudia Rankine and 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, including renowned poet Alice Walker and journalist Kathryn Schulz.
Since then, more than 7,000 people have signed the letter, and activists have created an international solidarity campaign in support of Tatour.
Tatour’s story is one of many. From October 2015 to July 2016, the Israeli government arrested roughly 400 Palestinians for social media posts, according to local rights groups.
Yet her case has gotten particular international attention, given its chilling implications for civil rights for Palestinians in Israel, the U.S. government’s closest ally.
U.S. social justice group Jewish Voice for Peace recently published a video message featuring Tatour in her home in Reineh, an Israeli city near Nazareth, where she remains under house arrest.
Salon organized an interview with Tatour. The interview was conducted in person, in Arabic, and translated with the help of Yoav Haifawi.
Can you explain what has happened since your arrest and imprisonment?
I’m still detained and pending trial, since they burst in at 3:30 am on Oct. 11, 2015. A large police force raided our house, and asked my parents to call me, because they came to take me. They did not have an arrest warrant, violating the most basic laws.
After my interrogation they decided to put me on trial and to hold me in prison until the end of the trial. I can say that the interrogation and the trial are a farce and a shame for any system that claims to be democratic.
Initially I was jailed for three months, during which I was transferred between three prisons: Jalameh, Sharon and Damoun.
Later, the court put me under house arrest in the Tel Aviv area, and this meant I was in exile far away from my town. I stayed there for over six months, during which I was prevented from going out and from communicating over the internet at all times, day and night.
Then, in the wake of the mounting solidarity campaign protesting the undemocratic practices against me, I was transferred to the house arrest in my town, Reineh. Here, I’m not allowed to go out, except for just six hours per week, and they’re making me wear an unremovable electronic bracelet on my ankle to monitor my movements.
What were the conditions like in the prisons? Can you talk about your experience and the other Palestinian prisoners?
First, there are thousands of Palestinian prisoners serving sentences in Israeli jails, and among them women and children — in addition to administrative detainees, who are being held by Israel without charge, and of course without trial, for an unknown period, because, according to the emergency laws, administrative detention can be extended repeatedly with no limit.
When I was in prison I was with Palestinian women prisoners. I experienced the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners in all humanitarian aspects. I witnessed the neglect they suffer in Israeli jails, in terms of environmental and health conditions, and cruel treatment.
The prisoners in general, and especially women prisoners, are deprived of basic human rights, and I mean especially the right to receive proper medical treatment.
Israeli prisons are full of injustice; whatever I say will not be enough to describe the life of Palestinian prisoners there. I met there innocent women prisoners who didn’t commit any crime.
For example, I was arrested because of a poem, and I met a girl who was detained because she wrote a private letter to her sister about personal and family concerns, and because she said the word “suicide,” she was thrown in jail for three months.
Why do you think Israel is going after poets and other artists, and arresting Palestinians for social media posts?
The political persecution, detentions and restrictions on freedom of expression, in my opinion, are a symptom of the crisis of Israel. As the Zionist authorities intensify repression and step up their incitement campaigns against Palestinians, they feel more weakness and impotence.
On the one hand the Palestinians increasingly reject their colonial practices and racial oppression; on the other hand, as a response to the emerging culture of hatred at the popular level, an opposing anti-fascist stream is taking shape in Israeli society. This puts Israel in a dilemma, forcing it to step up its repression, thus exposing the Israeli regime as anti-democratic.
Is it hypocritical for Israel to insist it is a democracy while it arrests people who criticize it?
Of course it is. Israel is not a democratic state. To the extent that it is democratic, its democracy applies only to one category of people, of citizens — that is, it is only democracy for Jews. For this reason I call it sectarian democracy or fake or hypocritical democracy.
However, even this kind of democracy started collapsing recently, as I explained in the previous answer.
Do you know if the letter from the 250 literary figures helped improve your situation?
Yes, of course. The solidarity campaign, including the petition, which was signed by many artists, writers and people from all over the world, helped very much.
In the beginning the conditions of my detention were very harsh. I was detained for several months in a house near Tel Aviv, away from my family and the place where I used to live. I was completely isolated from people; I was prevented from leaving the house altogether. It was more like a detention in solitary isolation cell in exile. It continued like this for more than six months.
Before the escalation of the solidarity campaign, my lawyer filed a request to transfer my home detention from Tel Aviv to Reineh — my town — but the prosecution strongly objected, refusing even to let my request be heard in court.
However, after the publication of the petition, it changed its attitude to the request, and eventually approved. My return from Tel Aviv to house arrest in Reineh greatly alleviated the conditions of my detention.
Do you think that continuing public pressure may influence the final verdict in your case?
Yes, definitely, the public response to the call for solidarity in my case, and around the issue of freedom of expression in general, is the only effective pressure that may change this unfortunate situation.
I believe that public pressure may force the Israeli authorities to reconsider the persecution of Palestinian artists, writers and young activists just because they express their rejection of oppression.
What gives you hope?
Hope is the foundation of life. There is a saying that I used to repeat before my arrest, and I still say it: “We dream in order to continue living.” Here I compare dreams with hope, because without hope we are going to die even as we are alive, and only our bodies will remain.
Hope is the sense of life, of freedom, of safety. It is what gives meaning to everything experienced by humans; we breathe hope to live meaningful lives.
What can human rights activists in the U.S. and elsewhere do to help fight for your rights and the rights of other Palestinians?
The U.S. government is the world’s biggest supporter of Israel. Activists in American society can put pressure on Israel in order to shed light on the issue of freedom of expression and the harassment by the Israeli authorities against those who oppose their views.
Palestinian Arab people in Israel are facing campaign of racist incitement, on both official and popular levels. Attacks on them multiply just because they speak Arabic in public places. These are dangerous developments. In this regard, I believe human rights activists should sound the alarm before it is too late.
Ben Norton is a politics staff writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.
After more than three months in jail and more than six months in house arrest on exile near Tel Aviv, after her unexpected detention yesterday (Monday, July 25, 2016), poet Dareen Tatour was allowed today to return to Reineh, still under house arrest and the same harsh conditions.
But it was only at about 20:30 that Tawfiq, Dareen’s father, collected her from the street near Damoun prison on Mount Carmel. It was another crazy day showing how the whole judiciary, police, prosecution and the prison department are doing everything to make life unbearable for the Palestinians (and many other ordinary residents).
Yesterday judge Hana Sabagh, at the Nazareth low court, decided to send Dareen to prison, in spite of the agreement by the prosecution to let her go back to Reineh, just because the private company that is responsible to the electronic surveillance didn’t yet submit a written report. The hearing today was set to 13:00, and the defense lawyers, Juana Far, had the missing paper ready with her, so we expected a smooth sail.
This time we were not waiting with Dareen, as she was held in a prison cell in the basement of the building, after spending the night in Jelemeh detention center. At about 14:00 she was brought to the isolated deck in the court room, carefully watched by two guards, a man and a woman.
As the judge started the hearing, noting the agreement between the prosecution and the defense, the prosecution lawyer requested to speak. At the last moment she tried to tighten Dareen’s detention restrictions. Some three month ago, the court allowed Dareen a small “window” in her house arrest: On Thursday, Friday and Saturday every week she is allowed to get out of the house, still accompanied by one of her supervisors, for two hours (from 17:00 till 19:00). This is less than the time that regular prisoners are allowed to go to stretch their body in the prison yard. Now the prosecution wanted to abolish this small window as a price for their agreement to Dareen’s return to Reineh. Luckily the judge frowned at this new complication and made it clear that the conditions stay as they are.
But just as we expected the judge to order the release of Dareen and that we will be allowed to go together out of court, he found a new way to torture us. Even that the only reason for Dareen’s arrest yesterday was the missing paper, he ordered now that Dareen will be taken back to prison until the surveillance company will complete all the technical arrangement.
We started a craze race against time to get all the paper work done. They wouldn’t give you the necessary forms in court to fill, so the lawyer had to go back to her office to find the right forms and come back to the court house to let Dareen sign them in her prison cell.
After the first bunch of papers was ready, the company asked for another couple of forms to be filled. It was already 15:40 and the gourds, officers of the “Nakhshon” prisoners’ transfer unit, said that if we can get all the papers right until 16:00 or 16:30 we may get Dareen with us from the court. Otherwise they will return her back to prison.
So lawyer Juana hurried back to her office. But the surveillance company insisted that the forms should be sent to them from the court’s fax and not from the lawyer’s office. In spite of the strike we found some nice clerk in the court’s office that agreed to get the faxes from Juana and send them to the company. It was exactly 16:30 when we receive the fax delivery confirmation from the court’s office. We warmly thanked the clerk, wished her victory in the strike and run down to “minus 3” were the prisoners are held.
The guards were still there holding Dareen, but the surveillance company said they didn’t get the fax yet. We called the lawyers and requested them to call the company and see what the hell is going on with them. At about 17:00 the people at the company admitted that they received the fax, but said that they want somebody from the court’s office to call them to make sure that it was really sent from the court. We run back to the court’s office but there was nobody there. In the meantime it became clear that the guards are also gone with Dareen – the brave ones simply spirited away without telling us, leaving us waiting at the door and ringing the bell in vain.
The next chapter is what I heard from Dareen after she was released.
She was taken by the guards. Initially they said that they will take her to “Ha-Sharon” prison, near Kfar Saba, some 90 kilometers away. Then, for unknown reason, they changed their mind and decided to take her to Damoun, the last prison where she spent time in her three month imprisonment.
The “Nakhshonim” tried to submit her to the prison officers, but those checked in their computers and found that Dareen was released and refused to accept here. Hearing that, the Nakhshonim decided that they have already lost too much time on this lost cause and just drove away, leaving Dareen there, standing at the gates of the Damoun prison – an unwanted prisoner.
The prison officers let Dareen make a telephone call (her telephone was taken from her when she was arrested). Luckily she remembered the number of her brother, who called her father. For a long time she just stood there, near the mountain road, waiting for her father to come and take her home.
At night, when they finally reached the family house in Reineh, there were happy celebrations with many people coming to congratulate Dareen on her return home after an ordeal that lasted more than nine months. There were fireworks, food and oriental sweets.
There was also music – it came out the Dareen is learning also to play the guitar – in addition to her love for poetry and photography. Holding her guitar she told us how the policemen that came to arrest her on October and confiscated her computer and smartphone asked about the guitar: Is it yours also? She replied: Will you take my guitar also?
As we left the house at half past midnight, the whole family was expecting a white night. The people from the surveillance company said they will come at around 02:00 to install the equipment. Despite judge Sabagh’s tireless effort, Dareen was left for many hours without active surveillance. And this time, in spite of all his efforts, he failed even to ruin our day.
Even as Dareen was celebrating her home-coming, we talked about the next phase of the trial. If found “guilty” – which is what happens with about 99% of the people indicted in Israeli courts – she is expected to serve another prolonged period in prison. The struggle to #Free_Dareen_Tatour, like the bigger struggle for Palestinian human rights, has still a long way to go.
How “security considerations” become means for torture…
(On Tuesday, July 26, at about 20:00, Dareen was finally allowed to go home. After more than 3 months in prison and more than 6 months in exile and house arrest, she will still be under strict house arrest at home, waiting a prolonged trial for one poem and two Facebook posts. If found “guilty” – which is what happens with about 99% of the people indicted in Israeli courts – she is expected to serve another prolonged period in prison. The struggle to #Free_Dareen_Tatour, like the bigger struggle for Palestinian human rights, has still a long way to go.)
We invited everybody to celebrate the return of poet Dareen Tatour to Reineh today, after more than three months in prison and more than six months in house arrest in exile in Kiryat Ono near Tel Aviv (more than 100 km from her home). Yes, we knew that she will still be in house arrest under harsh restrictions: confined with volunteer guards to the house, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with an electronic device attached to her ankle monitoring all her movement and prevented from any access to the internet. But at least she will be at home, surrounded by family and friends.
But after a prolonged drama in the Nazareth court the result was that Dareen was arrested and returned to prison. She will probably spend the night in the filthy cells of the Jelemeh detention center, where she spent the first month of her detention. Tomorrow we will have another hearing in court, but as things go we can’t be optimistic until we will see Dareen fully free.
This cruel attempt to break Dareen’s spirit just as she expected her situation to improve reminds me of the case of Bilal Kayed. Bilal, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was sentenced to 14 and half years in prison for resisting the occupation. On the day that he had to be released, June 13, 2016, he was transferred instead to administrative detention for another six months, a period that can be extended arbitrarily and indefinitely. Today Bilal is on the 40th day of hunger strike against his administrative detention, and there are many demonstrations in solidarity with him against the breaking of the few rules that were still respected in the relations between the occupation and political prisoners.
But what happened today in the Nazareth court?
Before our court hearing started, we were given a devastating evidence to the ground truth of the reality of occupation that is the real background to Dareen’s saga. Two young workers from the West Bank were brought before the judge on the accusation of crossing the walls illegally in search of work. He casually remanded their detention and sent them back to prison in less than 2 minutes, like somebody that eats a nut and throws the shell behind his back.
Delivering Injustice Slowly
The current request to alleviate Dareen’s detention conditions is almost three months old. It took a month to set a date and few more weeks to make the initial hearing, where the prosecution objected to the very hearing of the request. As an alternative they insisted that a special parole officer will examine the suitability of the proposed new guards to be with Dareen, which brought us up to last Monday, July 18.
In the meantime the international pressure to release Dareen mounted, with hundreds of poets and writers from all over the world signing a petition in her defense. The prosecution softened its position a bit, now agreeing to Dareen’s return to Reineh. But still another week was allocated for the adjustment of the electronic device to work in Dareen’s house in Reineh – and the hearing was postponed to today, Monday, July 25.
In the meantime Dareen’s lawyer prepared seven proposed volunteer guards – much more that the number usually required, as he had a long experience of the prosecution failing any proposal to alleviate the detention conditions. Judge Hana Sabagh, the vice president of Nazareth low court, agreed to hear only four custodians. They all passed the interrogation perfectly. But then the judge noticed that three of the four guards, Dareen’s father and two brothers, work, and only her mother will stay with her at daytime. And what will happen if her mother will have to get out? The next in line were Dareen’s sisters in law – but they also work outside the family house. In the end the judge agreed to accept as a fifth guard one sister in law that works part-time. I wonder about what “dangers to the public” the judge was thinking when he invested all this time to create a perfect shield around Dareen that is never applied to really dangerous criminals.
Crisis and Arrest
Then it came out that the approval from the operators of the electronic surveillance device was missing. First everybody thought that it was only a problem of communication. The court’s clerks are still on strike and they put off the fax machine where such documents are regularly sent. The judge even tried to show leadership and said that “we will find a way to get the approval without breaking the strike”.
But when the lawyer called the operator again it became clear that the approval is not ready. It is a private for-profit company that received the responsibility for operating electronic handcuffs from the government through a special contract. They were supposed to do their job within five work days – and that’s why the Judge postponed the hearing for a whole week. But they visited Dareen’s house only yesterday. And though the professional team that checked the place said that everything is OK, today on the phone they insisted that, according to their contract, they have another five days now to write their conclusions.
Abed, Dareen’s lawyer, suggested that Dareen will be allowed to go to Reineh anyway, until the final approval will come. After all, she was allowed to be with her family on Eid Al-Fitr (albeit only for one day), and once again when there were court hearings day after day. They Judge objected, saying that he couldn’t allow Dareen to go to Reineh for a few days least there will be a negative reply from the operators of the device and he will be forced to send her to prison…
Dareen told the court that there is no way that she will go back to Kiryat Ono. The Judge didn’t wait to hear why and ordered the guards to take her. But then everybody stood up and shouted, and the judge said he will set the next hearing for tomorrow, maybe the operator will make up his mind in the meantime.
Dareen’s lawyer tried to convince the judge that if there is only one night until the next hearing, he doesn’t have to be any braver than the previous judge that let Dareen spend one night at home before. But then the lawyer for the prosecution began to shout, saying there is no reason to allow this. She mentioned the fact that Dareen didn’t infringe in any way the conditions of her detention over the last half year as a proof that there is no problem with her staying more in Kiryat Ono. Judge Sabagh apparently decided that he’s more afraid from the prosecution’s fury and ended the hearing without any decision except for setting the next hearing for tomorrow at 13:00.
Dareen went out and inspected her options. After some time she went back to the judge with her family and lawyer and repeated her position that she simply can’t go back to Kiryat Ono. The judge ordered the court guards to arrest her and give her to the police. Now Dareen is in prison again for very good reasons: As the judge said, he wouldn’t want to arrest her if there will be a negative response from the operators… and as the prosecutor said, she never infringed the conditions that were imposed upon her… The State of Israel was spared another great threat to its sacred security!
But will it make a difference?
It is more than 9 months since Dareen Tatour, the Palestinian poet from Reineh, was arrested and accused of inciting violence… all for one poem, two statuses and sharing the image of Israa Abed. She spent three months in three different prisons and is now confined to a small apartment in a suburb of Tel Aviv, more than a hundred kilometers away from her home and friends.
When I wrote the first article about Dareen’s detention (in Hebrew), published in “Siha Mekomit” (local call), on April 16, I concluded:
“The fact that a poet was arrested and tried under such baseless accusations is the result not only of the racist system (police, prosecution, judiciary), but also of the indifference of public opinion. Where are the poets and writers when we need them to protect the freedom of expression?”
To be honest, the response was more than anything I expected.
Through the last month, we had not only a hearing of Dareen’s request to alleviate the conditions of her detention on Monday 27/6, but also a demonstration in Yaffa (Saturday 25/6), a poetry night in Tel Aviv (also 27/6) and another in Haifa (Thursday 30/6) and high profile media cover.
And then was published an amazing petition calling for the release of Dareen, signed by many important poets and writers!
But let’s start with Dareen’s news…
No News from the Northern Front
Since her transfer from prison to house detention, Dareen is held in very harsh conditions. The prosecution waged guerilla warfare to prevent or delay her transfer and refuse any option that was proposed to the court, appealing against any decision that went a small step in Dareen’s way. The result was that Dareen is now closed 24 hours a day in a small apartment that her brother was forced to rent in Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv. She wears an electronic device on her ankle that monitors all her movements. But her two volunteer guards are still obliged to stay with her 24 hours a day “to make sure she doesn’t connect to the internet”, or they will pay a high fine and Dareen will be returned to jail. They both have to work opposite shifts and had to stop their studies. The lives of three people came to a standstill for unlimited period.
Dareen’s lawyer, Abed Fahoum, submitted a request to the Nazareth court, to transfer Dareen’s detention back to the family’s home in Reineh. As the prosecution refused, for different reasons, all proposed “guards”, the new request listed six possible new guards, in addition to Dareen’s parents. It took more than a month till the court set the date to study the request on June 27.
The prosecution position was very sharp. There is no reason to even hear the request, as there is nothing new in the case. After half a year of house detention the prosecution will typically agree for softening the conditions – but not in Dareen’s case. Judge Idris is already traumatized after the many hearings he already held about Dareen’s detention and after several of his decision were overturned on appeal. He clearly wanted the prosecution to soften its position, but as there was no sign of it he left Dareen under the same harsh conditions until a second hearing on July 18.
Dareen burst in tears in the court as she heard of the decision. She said before that if her conditions are not alleviated she may request to go back to prison. But now she will hold her breath until July 18.
The lawyer also requested to let Dareen to spend the Eid al-Fitr next week with her family. The prosecution lawyer requested to call his superiors, and then requested to answer that request in writing within two days. The written answer, apparently from the higher circles in the Nazareth prosecution, was sharp objection. In the end the judge decided to let Dareen stay with her family only a day and a half of the Eid’s three days…
From Yaffa’s clock square to Haaretz Editorial
The first vigil in solidarity with Dareen was help in Nazareth on April 13. It gave a great push to the media coverage of the case.
A second vigil was initiated in Yaffa (Jaffa) by local Palestinian activists. It concentrated on Dareen’s case but raised also the issue of administrative detention of Palestinian activists. Some fifty activists took part with significant presence of the media, including Al-Jazeera and Haaretz.
On Sunday there were two articles in Haaretz: one by Vered Lee contained many interviews that she held in the vigil, including with Dareen’s father; the other about the planned poetry events. On Monday morning, the day of the hearing concerning Dareen’s detention conditions, Haaretz editorial in Hebrew and English called for Dareen’s release.
The Hebrew Poet’s Letter
As the case drags on in court, there was time enough for many poets to wake up and take a stand. At the initiative of poet Tal Nitzan, the following letter was written:
We, poets, writers and members of the academy, are shocked and appalled by the arrest of Dareen Tatour and the charges she is facing for publishing a poem online and status updates on Facebook. Dareen Tatour, an Israeli citizen, has been imprisoned for three months and is now under a severely limiting house arrest awaiting her trial, for publishing a poem online.
This is a clear case of unjust silencing and a severe violation of freedom of speech and protest, a new and grave stage in the deterioration of human rights in Israel, and a shameful proceeding that is befitting a totalitarian state and is unacceptable in a so called democratic state.
This prosecution of an Arab poet is particularly disturbing considering the law enforcement authorities disregard for the violent, racist and much more extreme content posted by Jewish citizens daily. This is a practice of double standard and a biased oppression, intolerable in a state that presumes to practice equality before the law. http://bit.ly/1Jf17Sp
As writers, deeply committed to freedom of speech and human rights, we will not stand by. We demand freedom for Dareen Tatour and withdrawal of the charges against her.
Poetry Evening in Tel Aviv
Tal Nitzan also collaborated with colleagues in organizing two poetry events in Tel Aviv and in Haifa. The event in Tel Aviv was held in the “Sipur Pashut” (simple story) library in Neve Zedek. A long list of poets, writers and academics announced their participation. I copy it here for you from the event’s page on Facebook:
Dr. Ilana Hammerman
Dr. Anat Matar
Alma Miriam Catz
Esti G. Haim
Roy Chicky Arad
Raanan Ben Tovim
Maki Hacham Neeman
Hila Aharon Brik
I succeeded to arrive there after the court hearing, and, though being completely tired, I was very impressed both with the dense presence – people literally climbed one above the other to find a place – and by the thoughtful selection of texts and special words that were prepared for the event.
At the end of the evening Tal Nitzan read a thank you letter from Dareen to all the people that support her in her hard experience.
If you know Hebrew you can read a detailed report about the event in a site called Mako that covers cultural activities.
Another Poetry Evening in Haifa
The first poetry event in solidarity with Dareen was actually held back in May 5, 2016, in Haifa Al-Ghad club, at the initiative of Herak Haifa. Five young Palestinian poets participated, reading theirs and Dareen’s poetry.
But now the initiative came from Hebrew writing poets and they didn’t want it to be confined to Tel Aviv alone. We looked for a place that will be more identified with the Jewish society in Haifa and agreed with “Isha L’Isha” (Woman for Woman) feminist center to host the event. Later on the organizers received threats from right wing activists and we had to find a new place at short notice. We went back to Palestinian Haifa, where Al-Yakhour youth hostel was happy to host us and the right wing activists didn’t even bother to call.
Being in Haifa, there were Arab and Jew poets, all gathering in the open air entrance of Al-Yakhour for the event. Here is the list of the readers from the invitation:
Sigal Ben Yair
Heiam Abu Zuluf
Sabrina De Rita
Rajaa Zoabi Omari
Some of them didn’t really show up – but the virtual participation meant making a democratic stance in support of Dareen and Free Speech.
Poet Lilach Weber even wrote a special poem called “The Right Side of History” about Dareen’s persecution for poetry, which she published in Ha-Oketz and read to us in that evening.
I had the honor to thank the participants in the name of the organizers. I emphasized that our solidarity with Dareen Tatour is not because her case is so special but mostly because her case is an example of the similar fate of hundreds of Palestinian youth that are persecuted for expressing their resistance to Israeli racism and occupation. I added that even the general repression of the right of expression and free speech is not the heart of the problem but more like a symptom. When you hold millions of people without basic human rights and no democratic way to control their lives or decide their future, resistance and repression are the natural results.
More Poetic Solidarity
The poetry world has its own ways to express solidarity.
A Hebrew poetry magazine named “Maayan” (spring) decided to give Dareen its prize for “Poet in Struggle” – with an attached check of 500 shekel.
Finally came also the heavy armory of literature, in the form of the following press release:
Nine Pulitzer-Winners among 150+ Literary Figures Calling for Israel to Free Palestinian Poet
Poetry is Not a Crime: Alice Walker, Claudia Rankine, Dave Eggers, Natasha Trethewey & hundreds of others join solidarity campaign for Dareen Tatour imprisoned for a poem.
Tomorrow, Sunday, July 17, at 4:00 pm, there should be another of the main trial against Dareen, with more policemen coming to testify about the “confessions” that they extracted from her, from her computer and from her cellphone.
On Monday, July 18, at 9:00 am, judge Idris is expected to decide about Dareen request to go back to Reineh, even if under strict house detention.
We all hope that the public pressure so far (and some common sense) will be enough at least to let the court counter the prosecution’s pressure and allow Dareen to return home. Otherwise Dareen may prefer to go back to prison – at least her detention period in prison (unlike house detention) may be counted in case that she will be sentenced for more time in prison.
Later, in September, the court will start to hear the defense case. A lot is at stake there. The defense will state that Dareen’s poem and Facebook statuses are perfectly legitimate artistic and political expressions. Can you convince an Israeli judge to recognize this? Farther more, the defense will claim that the whole prosecution apparatus in Israel is systematically targeting Palestinians for legitimate expression of political opposition while it totally ignores severe incitement for violence by right wing Zionists against Arabs. It is a lot to prove – and there is plenty of evidence to support it – but will the court be ready to hear it?
If Dareen Tatour is finally convicted, which is a very possible result, the accusations against her can carry up to 8 years in prison. By the latest cases in Israeli courts sentences of around 1 year of imprisonment seem to be quite common.
We have a long and hard struggle for Dareen and for Democracy ahead.
Poetry is Not a Crime: Alice Walker, Claudia Rankine, Dave Eggers, Natasha Trethewey & hundreds of others join solidarity campaign for Dareen Tatour imprisoned for a poem
July 12, 2016–Over 150 renowned writers, poets, translators, artists and literary figures signed an open letter in solidarity with Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour. Susan Abulhawa, Rae Armantrout, Carl Dennis, Dave Eggers, Carolyn Forché, Jorie Graham, Naomi Klein, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Naomi Shihab Nye, Claudia Rankine, Tracy K Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Ayelet Waldman, Alice Walker and Jacqueline Woodson were among the award-winning literary figures who joined the call for the immediate release of the Palestinian poet who was imprisoned for her poetry. (The full list of signers is available here).
Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, is one of over 400 Palestinians arrested by Israel since last fall for political statements on social media. Tatour’s ordeal began in October 2015, when she was arrested in the middle of the night. She has been charged with incitement to violence and terrorism based on Facebook postings and a poem posted to YouTube called “Qawim ya sha’abi, qawimhum” (Resist my people, resist them). Tatour spent the first three months of her detention in three different prisons before being transferred to house arrest. The court has insisted that she be kept 40 km away from her home because of the ‘danger’ she posed to the public. Tatour’s brother was obliged to quit his job and his studies in order to fulfil his role as the court appointed ward in an apartment in Tel Aviv rented for that purpose for the duration of her legal proceedings. Tatour will appeal to be allowed to transfer to house arrest in her hometown at a hearing on July 18. Her hearings are scheduled to continue to until September, when she could be sentenced to additional time in prison if convicted.
The letter signed by literary notables marks the launch of an international solidarity campaign organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY to demand the release of Tatour and to draw attention to thewidespread arrests and detentions of Palestinians for political expression on social media, as well as Israel’s targeting of Palestinian writers and artists.
The signers of the letter are some of the most respected and renowned individuals in the arts and literary worlds: including nine Pulitzer Prize winners, several National Book Award recipients and United States poet laureates, many Guggenheim Fellowship recipients, an NAACP Image Award winner, many Lambda Literary Award winners, and scores of recipients of the highest U.S. writing, poetry, translation, and arts honors: including Tony Awards, Grammy Awards, Obie Awards, PEN/Open Book Awards, National Book Critics Circle Awards, Kenyon Review Award, Pushcart Awards, LA Times Book Awards, and MLA Prizes.
The letter states: “We believe in the rights of artists and writers to freely express their artistic vision, and share work freely. The Israeli government’s actions reveal a desire to silence Tatour, part of a larger pattern of Israeli repression against all Palestinians. Expressing resistance to oppression and Occupation through poetry is by nature non-violent and should not be criminalized by any government.”
Award-winning poet, songwriter, and novelist, Naomi Shihab Nye, referred to the way Tatour’s use of the word “resistance” has been criminalized: “The word “resist” – when it is resisting oppression and inequality – will always be a gleaming, beautiful, positive word. In fact, it needs to be said more often.”
Stefanie Fox, Deputy Director of Jewish Voice for Peace, noted, “It is heartening to see such luminaries of the literary world speak out against this blatant injustice. Writers and poets around the world know that poetry is not, and must not be, a crime. Israel has made it clear that it would rather imprison a Palestinian poet for a poem that is critical of governmental policies than change those policies. Israel has chosen to silence Palestinian cultural workers rather than heed their calls for freedom, justice, and equality. Tatour’s case is a powerful example of the need to continue fighting for fundamental change.”
Mohammad Hamad from Adalah-NY commented, “The criminalization of Dareen Tatour’s poetry and political expression is, sadly, routine for Palestinian cultural workers, both for citizens of Israel and residents of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. We could name a dozen more examples. We are encouraged by the response from the literary community to Dareen’s case and hope it signifies to all people of good conscience that the time has come to stand on the side of justice for Palestinians.”
Dareen Tatour recently told the Israeli daily Haaretz: “I never imagined that in a democratic country, I would not be allowed to write and publish….I cannot live without poetry. For me to be a poet without a pen and without feelings. But if I cannot mourn for my compatriots who are being killed, how will I be able to be a poet?”
The full list of signers of the open letter is available here and will be updated as new signatories join. A video of Dareen Tabour speaking about her case will also be available.
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. JVP has over 200,000 online supporters, over 60 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists.
Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel is a local, grassroots, non-hierarchical volunteer-only group of concerned individuals that advocates for justice, equality, and human rights for the Palestinian people. Adalah-NY organizes in support of the 2005 call by Palestinian civil society to maintain non-violent means of protest — including boycotts, divestment, and sanctions — until Israel respects Palestinians’ fundamental rights.
(On Monday, June 27, the court in Nazareth heard Dareen Tatour’s request to relieve the strict conditions imposed on her in her house detention, and, most important, to let her return to her home in Reineh, even if still under detention. As the prosecution firmly objected, the judge postponed his decision until July 18. In the meantime we had a chance to meet Dareen and she gave me the following letter to all of you who support her against persecution.)
One Who Does Not Thank People, Does Not Thank God
With these few words I open my letter to all of you who stood by me and my family in these difficult times and through this harsh experience.
I thank you with all my heart. Thanking you is perhaps the least I can do while I am in this detention and exile, far from everything I’d lived through before my imprisonment. In spite of all the difficulties I have experienced and still experience, your stand alongside me — and your voice, which has reached me — are like rays of light which give me the power for sumud.
My message to all of you, without exception, is the message of a loving woman, striving for peace and safety, and hoping that justice and equality will be shared by all human beings everywhere. A woman whose life has been condensed to a pen, a paper and an image… I dreamed one day about the existence of people like you, people looking for dreams amid all the nightmares that live around us and between us.
Yes, I thank you, and I put all the hopes of humanity in your hands — those hopes that you see, hear, and feel.
I love you
June 27, 2016
Letter to supporters of detained poet Dareen Tatour
Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour is still under house detention as her trial is expected to continue for a log period…
We need more solidarity and pressure in the near future
I write this letter to put you all on the same page.
The last court session was held on Sunday, May 8. There was one witness for the prosecution – a policeman – Salman Amer – the one that got the material from Dareen’s computer and smartphone. Before the hearing we held a successful vigil outside the court. Probably the judge was pressed from the multitude of Dareen’s supporters – so she decided to hold the hearing behind closed doors.
You can read about the 8/5 vigil and hearing my reports (Hebrew and English) , a report by Jack Khouri in Haaretz (Hebrew and English) and a later report in “Local Call” (in Hebrew only) with more details from the courts protocol and about solidarity activities.
The court set a new schedule: the next hearing will be held only in 17/7 – and there are 5 more witnesses for the prosecution. Another hearing was scheduled for September 6 – so the defense case will not start until that date and is unlikely to end then. By that schedule Dareen is expected to stay in her detention and exile for more than a year even before the case will be decided…
This schedule forces us to concentrate now on an effort to, at least, “improve” the harsh conditions imposed on Dareen. Her lawyer, Abed Fahoum, promised that a special request to the court to bring back Dareen to Reineh – even if under house detention – will be placed with the Nazareth court early next week. When we get a date for the hearing I will publish it on the Free Dareen Tatour Facebook Page. But the best chance to get some relief for Dareen is in case that there will be concrete pressure on the prosecution – mostly by international public opinion and human rights organization.
I also wanted to mention that Dareen’s brother and his fiancée, which were appointed by the court to “guard” Dareen at her exile/detention in Tel Aviv, were forced to hire a special apartment for this purpose and had to stop their studies (both were post-graduate students of medical professions) and adjust their work schedule – with huge costs and disruption to their personal lives. Dareen is even more concerned to relieve them than to go back to her home.
Publicity and Solidarity
Dareen’s case received huge publicity in the Palestinian press – she became a symbol for hundreds of Palestinians that are arrested and persecuted for expressing their views on social media. Her case was prominently mentioned by Muhammad Barake, the head of the “Arab follow up committee”, in front of thousands of protesters in the “March of Return”, the commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba that was held this year in Wadi Al-Zubale, in Bir A-Sabe’ (Naqab) region, on May 12.
The general association of Palestinian writers issued a special declaration (in Arabic, May 15) in solidarity with Dareen, calling for her immediate release. The declaration calls for “solidarity action and the mobilization of all possible energies to pressure the occupation machine and force it to release the poet”. Sami Muhana, head of the association of Palestinian Arab writers in the 48 territories, also issued a denunciation in behalf of this association. Herak Haifa held a special poetry reading event on May 5, in solidarity with Dareen Tatour, with the participation of five young Palestinian poets.
In the Israeli press we succeeded to get about as far as one can go with a comprehensive article by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac in Haaretz (in Hebrew and English). But till now, in spite of repeated efforts, no Israeli writer, nor any Israeli Human Rights organization, showed any interest in this case. Please correct me if I missed something – I will be more than happy to publish any expression of solidarity from any side.
The “ArabLit” site, which writes (in English) about Arab literature, made great work in translating some of Dareen’s poems, including the one she was arrested for – “Resist, My People, Resist Them” – as well as “How Old I Am?” and “I will not leave my country”.
Activists of “Jewish Voice for Peace” held special protest in solidarity with Dareen in front of the Israeli consulates in New York and Philadelphia before the court hearing on May 8.
Pen International, in a declaration from April 25, condemning the arrest of Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal, related to Dareen’s case, saying: “PEN International is also concerned at reports that Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour is currently on trial for alleged ‘incitement to violence’. The organization is currently assessing the content of a poem and Facebook posts the poet, who is from Nazareth in Israel, wrote which are the basis of the charge.”
Sarah Shulman, and American novelist and academic, sent the following message of solidarity: “I am honored to offer open-hearted solidarity to the Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour and hope others will join me in supporting her quest for freedom to live and write according to her conscience.”
It is time that more poets, writers and all freedom loving people will make their voice heard for the freedom of Dareen Tatour, for freedom of the arts and freedom of expression, for the freedom of the Palestinian people and all the people in this small world.
It is almost 7 months since Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet from Al-Reineh (near Nazareth), fell into the black hole of persecution by Israel’s oppression apparatus. The case was rarely noticed before the first hearing of the court on April 13 (see reports in Arabic and Hebrew), when it was published that the main accusation against her is posting a poem on youtube and Facebook calling for resistance to the occupation. Apparently Israel expects all Palestinian poets to devote their poems to pour praise and show love for their torturers.
The new “Free Dareen Tatour” Facebook page called for a vigil in front of the Nazareth court before the second hearing of the prosecution witnesses today, May 8 2016. By 12:00, the designated time, there was already a dedicated group of activists waiting in the sun in front of the court building. They received gleefully Dareen that had to travel a hundred kilometers from her exile and home-detention in a suburb of Tel Aviv. Many of the activists (and some of her family members) didn’t see Dareen since her detention, and it was a very warm meeting.
There were signs in Arabic, Hebrew and English, all calling for the freedom of Dareen Tatour, freedom to Palestinian arts, free speech and freedom to the people. People kept coming and we kept writing new signs to let them all show their solidarity. Many Palestinian journalists and a team from Haaretz were busy taking photos and making interviews, as can be seem from the multitude of news items about the event that were published today.
Finally a group of high-school students that came to visit the court as part of their “citizenship” class joined the demonstration. They were taking pictures of themselves, proving in practice that this time they really learned something about democracy and freedom of expression and the need to struggle for them.
At 13:15 we packed the vigil and some 50 of Dareen’s supporters entered the court’s building in
order to attend the hearing, filling all the waiting halls in the second floor. We had to wait more than an hour before the previous (closed) hearing finished. But as we gathered to enter the courtroom we were blocked by the guards. They announced that the hearing will be held behind closed doors.
With no legal grounds, Judge Adi Bambiliya decided that it will be more pleasant and efficient to shut out Dareen’s family and supporters, including Knesset members Haneen Zoabi and Basel Ghattas. After some time Dareen’s father, alone, was allowed in. Only at 16:55, after almost all the supporting public went away in despair, the ten of us that still hanged around were allowed in.
All that the court achieved today was hearing one more policeman witness for the prosecution, named Salman ‘Amer. He is the guy that inspected Dareen’s smartphone and computer. From his words in court he seems not to be much of a computer expert, just like the policemen translator of Dareen’s poem, who witnessed in the previous hearing, had no qualifications in poetry or translation.
What we did learn about was the police’s racist viewpoint that stands behind the whole persecution of Dareen, like thousands of more Palestinians:
- The witness mentioned many times that he had found in Dareen’s smartphone and computer “a picture of the ‘Mekhabelet’ from Afula”. ‘Mekhabel’ is a special Hebrew word for Palestinian resistance fighters, designated to de-humanize them. But Israa Abed, the women that was shot in Afula central station, was harmless and defenseless. Luckily she survived her cold-blood shooting – and was not accused by the Israeli police of any security offences.
- One special ‘accusation’ against Dareen, coming up in Amer’s written testimony, was that she read a poem in “Woman’s Day” in Nazareth. My feminist friends commented that educated women are really a great danger to the regime.
- Another proof of Dareen’s criminality, according to Amer, was that she participated in commemorating the Kafr Qasim massacre. On October 29, 1956, the Israeli army declared a curfew in Kafr Qasim near Tel Aviv, and killed 49 innocent Palestinians, mostly coming back from their fields or work and not knowing that they are in breach of the army’s orders. To the question of Abed Fahoum, the defense lawyer, what is wrong about commemorating this massacre Amer replied that it is “politics” and “goes against state security”!
Before we dispersed the judge tried to convince the parties to negotiate an agreed settlement. She told the defense lawyer that he should forget about abolishing the indictment. But she also pressed the prosecution to notice that they have some deep flaws in their case. The super-motivated prosecution lawyer, Elina Hardak, who doesn’t spare any effort to make life harder for Dareen, said that she can’t give ground. She claimed that the State Prosecutor and the Attorney General stand behind the case.
The hearing finished at 18:00. There are 5 more witnesses for the prosecution, and the next hearing was set for July 17, at 16:00. Another hearing was set for September 6. By this schedule Dareen will be denied her basic freedoms for more than a year before her case will be decided.
(This post was published also in Hebrew)
At 3:00am before dawn, on October 11, 2015, patrol cars from Nazareth police, escorted by a unit of Israel’s notorious “Border Guards”, surrounded a quite house in the nearby village of Al-Reineh. They broke in and waked up the terrified family. Their target was Dareen Tatour, 33, a Palestinian poet, photographer and activist. They didn’t have a search order, neither an arrest warrant, but they carried the astonished Dareen with them anyway.
Who is a martyr?
October 2015 saw a wave of mass struggle by the Palestinians, centered in Al-Quds as response to Israeli provocations in Al-Aqsa, but spreading throughout Gaza, the West Bank and the 48 occupied territories. But Dareen didn’t expect to be arrested. She didn’t take part in the demonstrations this time. She used to go to demonstrations before and as a photographer was targeted by the police. She was wounded in 2008, as settlers and police attacked the March of Return in Saffuriya. But why now?
Apparently the immediate reason for Dareen’s detention was a status that she published on Facebook. On October 9 a Palestinian woman from Nazareth, Israa Abed, a mother of 3 and a post-graduate student of genetic engineering, was shot by Israel soldiers in the
central bus station in ‘Afula, on her way home from her studies. The films of her cold-blooded shooting by several Israel soldiers were published everywhere. The Arab public was shocked. According to the Israeli police Dareen posted Israa’s picture and wrote “I will be the next martyr”.
For the Israeli racist regime, media and public every Palestinian that is shot by the Israelis is immediately defined as “Mekhabel” – a special term invented in Hebrew to de-humanize Arab resistance fighters, not even describing them as regular “terrorists”. While every single Arab that looked at the film saw clearly that Israa didn’t attack anyone, and concluded that any Arab now can be shoot for no reason, the Israeli media hysterically interpreted the same incident as a proof that any Arab can be “Mekhabel”. (Luckily Israa didn’t die from her wounds and Israel later dropped any “security” accusations against her.)
For the Israelis any Palestinian “martyr” (Shahid) is a suicide bomber. For the Palestinians not only freedom fighters but every innocent victim of the occupation is a Shahid. In this bloody period Dareen was identified as an enemy and can be regarded lucky to be arrested and not shoot at and actually becoming Shahida, like so many others.
The case against Dareen
Having Dareen in their custody, with her computer and smartphone, the best brains of the Israeli police in Nazareth worked hard to prove that she is a real security threat and stitch a file against her. On Monday, November 2, Dareen was indicted on charges of incitement to violence and supporting a terrorist organization. (I didn’t see the official indictment, but here are media reports about it in Arabic and Hebrew.)
The main clause of the indictment is based on a poem that she (or somebody else using her name – the case is still in the court) published in “youtube” under the title: “Qawem ya sha’abi, qawemhum” – “resist my people, resist them”. There is nothing illegal in this poem, not even according to Israel’s anti-democratic laws. But the poem is read against a background of Palestinian youth clashing with the occupation forces. The Israeli prosecution and media now relate to such iconic images as “Palestinians engaged in terrorist activity”!
Another main clause in the indictment relates to an item from the news, cited in a post on Dareen’s Facebook page, according to which “The Islamic Jihad movement calls for continuing the Intifada all over the (West) Bank…” The same post calls for “comprehensive intifada”. You can argue what this call for intifada means, but there is no support for Islamic Jihad there. The same report could appear, using exactly the same language, in an Israeli media… But Palestinians are always suspected of not really loving their oppressors.
Endless tireless persecution
The harshest part of Dareen’s saga started after the indictment. In some similar cases, only involving some mild posts on Facebook, the accused were transferred to house arrest as the trial went on.
The prosecution in Nazareth fought a trench war to extend Dareen’s detention as long as possible. They wouldn’t agree to house detention in her parent’s home and demanded that she will be deported far away from the district altogether. This doesn’t make any sense, as all the charges against Dareen related only to publications on the net, where geography is not relevant. But at this stage they already inflated the case against Dareen as their main crusade to guard “the security of the region”. And in Israeli courts the word “security” transforms almost any judge to an obedient stamp carrier at the service of the prosecution.
The prosecution went on to demand that Dareen will be held in a house that is isolated
from the internet, under the supervision of volunteer guards that should be with her for 24 hours a day and pay a high penalty in case of any infringement. They objected to any specific proposal that met these harsh conditions and appealed to the district court over any decision of the low court that seemed a bit lenient toward Dareen.
As a result Dareen spent more than 3 months in different prisons, suffering harsh conditions and attending endless court hearings. Finally she was transferred (on January 14, 2016) to detention in a house that her brother rented especially in a remote suburb of Tel Aviv. She is not allowed to exit the small apartment at any time. An electronic device attached to her ankle is supervising her movements, in addition to the hapless “guards”.
The first hearing of the trial
On Wednesday, April 13, I went to Nazareth to attend the first hearing of Dareen’s trial. The small supporting crowd included some of Dareen’s relatives as well as Muhammad Barakeh, the head of the Arab High Follow-up Committee (the official united leadership of the 48 occupied Palestinians) and Knesset member Haneen Zoabi.
The prosecution started to rest her case by bringing the policemen that translated the “Qawem” poem to Hebrew. The scene was completely surrealistic. Poems, by their very nature, are contradictory to the concept of “proven beyond reasonable doubt” that stands at the heart of the criminal law. The (policeman) witness was struggling with the ambiguities of the poem’s words, supplying his intuitive interpretation to the phrases. We were torn between the urge to laugh loudly and bewilderment at the knowledge that the freedom of our dear Dareen depends on this nonsense.
The fact that the prosecution and the judge continued to discuss seriously the supposed incitement in the poem is only another demonstration of the way the Israeli oppressive apparatus is blinded by its own hatred and lies. But the lack of any semblance of justice and the zero value that they give to the basic Human Rights of the Palestinians is even more blatantly proved by their careless decision to use as translator a policeman with no special competence at translation. He testified breezily that his competence was based on studying literature at high school and his love for the Arab language. They are confident they can rob Dareen of her freedom according to an interpretation of her poem without even caring to bring a proper translator!
(If you read Hebrew you can read a detailed report about this amazing literary experience.)
The case of Dareen Tatour is just another small example of Israeli oppression against the Palestinians. Till now I don’t know of any specific solidarity actions with her, nor inside Palestine, neither abroad. This is understandable, taking into account that Palestinians of all ages are shot and killed every day, there are thousands of Palestinian prisoners (many of them children) and many hundreds are held in prison for years without any trial.
Yet I think that the case of Dareen deserves special attention.
She is a women and a poet. The main accusation against her is her poem. This is a good opportunity for poets and writers to make a stand against the occupation and its practice of criminalizing any Palestinian expression of the desire for freedom and dignity.
Also, Dareen’s lawyer, Abed Fahoum, raised in court the principled issue of discriminatory enforcement of the law against incitement. Israeli social and official media is boiling with calls to kill Arabs, some by prominent politicians and rabbis. The racist attitude of the prosecution, going exclusively against the freedom of expression of the Arab population while turning a blind eye to Zionist incitement, should be exposed. Pursuing this line of defense is a major interest of the Palestinian Arab public in general. Dareen and her lawyer will need all the help they can get during the next few weeks in the court and out of it to make this point heard.
Correspondence about solidarity
April 19, 2016
After this post was published on several sites – with some editing/censorship in some of them – I received several emails from good people that want to organize solidarity with Dareen Tatour.
Below is my answer to one of them
Thanks for your letter and for your solidarity.
Though the posts about Dareen had many hundreds of shares, there were very few real contacts 😦
So your active reply is highly appreciated 🙂
I think this is mostly an opportunity to make poets and others (writers, lecturers, students, any honest person) speak up against the occupation and against Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Support for BDS is one practical way to go beyond verbal protest.
Please speak up and please let people know!
First of all, Dareen and her family need this. They already suffered for a long half year without hearing almost any voice of solidarity.
Also, let the Palestinians know that the world is not indifferent to their suffering.
And let the Israeli regime know that it can’t rely on the Western “civilized” powers to pay and arm and provide impunity for their racist regime forever.
I’m in contact with Dareen, her family and her lawyer.
I will be happy to help in any solidarity activity.
Best regards and thanks again,