March 7, 2016
Palestinian lawyer and activist Shireen Issawi was sentenced to four years in Israeli prison on Monday, 7 March, and her brother Medhat Issawi to eight years in the same hearing in the Jerusalem central court. Their hearings had been repeatedly postponed; each has already been imprisoned for two years.
Shireen Issawi, a prominent Palestinian lawyer and activist in her own right, was internationally visible as the spokesperson for the campaign to support her brother, Samer Issawi, during his lengthy hunger strike in 2012 and 2013, which won his freedom; freed from prison in the 2011 Wafa al-Ahrar exchange with the Palestinian resistance, he was accused of leaving Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries and thus violating a term of his release. After winning his freedom in 2013, he was re-arrested in June 2014 along with dozens of ex-prisoners, and had his original 26-year prison sentence reimposed. The release of all of these re-imprisoned Palestinians is a major demand of Palestinian political forces.
Shireen, 34, and Medhat, 40, were accused of communicating with and providing funds to Palestinian prisoners that they represented through their legal practice, the Al-Quds Office for Legal and Commercial Affairs, which served as a liasion between families – often denied visits – and Palestinian prisoners, and Israeli lawyers and Palestinian prisoners; they transferred money to prisoners on behalf of their families. The Issawis are Jerusalemites – Palestinian residents of Jerusalem whose identity cards allow them to travel more freely throughout Palestine and visit Palestinian prisoners.