Amnesty International has urged the Israeli authorities to end their harassment of Palestinian human rights activists after a well-known campaigner in Haifa was jailed for nine years and given an additional one-year suspended sentence earlier today.
Ameer Makhoul, a longstanding Palestinian activist, was convicted on various counts of having contact with enemies of Israel and espionage after a plea bargain agreement at his trial. He was originally charged with an even more serious offence, "assisting an enemy in war", which could have carried a life sentence, but that was dropped by the prosecution when he agreed to a plea bargain.
"Ameer Makhoul's jailing is a very disturbing development and we will be studying the details of the sentencing as soon as we can," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa deputy director.
"Ameer Makhoul is well known for his human rights activism on behalf of Palestinians in Israel and those living under Israeli occupation. We fear that this may be the underlying reason for his imprisonment."