Sireen Khudairy Needs Help

Guest writer Steven Katsineris with a piece submitted in December briefing readers on the latest with Sireen Khudairy. Steven Katsineris is an Australian free-lance writer of articles on Palestine, Cyprus and the rest of the Middle East region, political prisoners and human rights, environmental and social issues. He has been actively involved in the Palestine solidarity movement for over forty years. Steven lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia.

I have received the following letter from Sarah Cobham requesting action to support Sireen Khudairy. 

I am contacting you because you signed my petition calling for the release of Palestinian teacher and human rights activist Sireen Khudairy earlier this year. Maybe you've met Sireen, or you oppose the actions of apartheid Israel, or you know the appalling conditions under which Palestinians are held. Whatever your reasons, I am asking you to take one more action in support of Sireen. Since her release from prison in August she has been harassed by the Israeli Occupation Forces, and so have her family. On 12th November she had to go into hiding following a night raid on her family home. Her family have appealed to all her Palestinian and International friends to take action contact their elected representatives, to put pressure on the Israeli government to stop this harassment now. You can find details of the harassment she's been subjected to, and how you can support her   Please do whatever you can, and share this appeal with others.” Sarah Cobham.

Sireen Khudairy Background

Sireen is active in the non violent campaign for human rights in Palestine. She studied computer science at the Open University in Tubas. During her studies she was actively involved in a twinning project between Tubas and the University of Sussex, England.

On Tuesday 14th May 2013, Sireen was kidnapped by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) whilst traveling home from Nablus to Tubas. As well, the IOF raided Sireen’s family home whilst her father Khalid Sawafteh, her mother, three brothers, sisters in law and their two young children were sleeping. 25 IOF army jeeps entered the town of Tubas. 20 officers entered the home and over 100 remained in the street cornering off the house. The family and young children were all taken into one room whilst their home was ransacked. The IOF took all the computers in the house leaving Sireen's relatives in shock.

Tubas is located in Area A as designated under the Oslo Accords, an agreement drawn up between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government. 'Legally' it is under total Palestinian civil and military control. Israeli civilians and military are prohibited to enter Area A and any incursion into this area is considered a breach of this agreement. Despite this, the IOF have continued to carry out 'operations' in Area A.

After her detention, Sireen was forcibly transferred out of the Occupied Palestinian Territories to an Israeli prison in Haifa located in the north of Israel, a practice illegal under international law.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive''. While Article 76 states clearly that 'protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein''.

Sireen appeared in court four times with her hands and legs shackled. The spurious charge was internet activism, creating a Facebook page which is considered a 'threat' to the 'security' of the region. Eventually she was released on bail, but has since been subject to Israeli army intimidation .

Sireen Khuduairy urgently needs solidarity and publicity to help her situation.  

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