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Palestinian human rights activist released after arrest by PA for criticizing it

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority released from prison a Palestinian human rights activist who had been arrested for criticizing the PA on Facebook.

Issa Amro, 35, was arrested a week ago after he took to Facebook to criticize the arrest of a local journalist who had called for PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s resignation. He reportedly was released on $1,400 bail.

He had gone on a hunger strike in Palestinian prison to protest his arrest, and said upon his release that he was verbally and physically abused while in PA custody, the Associated Press reported.

Amro, who advocates non-violent resistance against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and co-founded the group Youth Against Settlements, was indicted last year by an Israeli military court on a number of charges, including entering closed military zones and obstructing soldiers, according to Haaretz. His trial in that case is to resume in October.

Some 32 Democratic members of Congress in June sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling for him to intervene with Israel in Amro’s case. The letter questioned whether Amro would be judged fairly in the Israeli judicial system.

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