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Israel/OPT: Drop All Charges Against Ahmad Khalefa

Ahmad Khalefa, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, is a lawyer, human rights defender, community organizer and newly elected city council member. On October 19, 2023, Israeli police violently arrested him along with 10 other demonstrators from a peaceful protest in his native town of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel. He was subsequently charged with “incitement to terrorism” and “identification with a terrorist group,” for chanting slogans against the war in Gaza. After nearly four months in prison, Ahmad Khalefa was put under house arrest under strict terms, including electronic tagging. His next hearing will be held before the Haifa Magistrate’s court on April 8, 2024.

Here’s what you can do:

Write to the State Attorney urging him to:

  • Act swiftly to drop all charges against Ahmad Khalefa and to immediately and unconditionally release him from house arrest and lift all associated restrictions of his rights.
  • Allow him to resume his vital work and activism without reprisals or intimidation.

Write to:

Adv. Amit Aisman

State Attorney

The Office of the State Attorney

Email: State-attorney@justice.gov.il

Salutation: Dear Amit Aisman,

And copy:

His Excellency Iddo Moed


Embassy of the State of Israel

50 O’Connor Street, Suite 1005

Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2

Tel: (613) 750-7500 Fax: (613) 750-7555

Email: info@ottawa.mfa.gov.il


Ahmad Khalefa, a 42-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel and a dedicated human rights lawyer from Umm al-Fahm, has devoted his career to defending Palestinian rights. His legal practice includes representing administrative detainees, communities at risk of displacement in the Negev/Naqab, and students facing repercussions for exercising their right to free speech. Beyond his legal work, Khalefa has been elected to the city council of Umm al-Fahm, where he plays a significant role in grassroots movements addressing organized crime and gender-based violence within Palestinian communities in Israel.

In November 2023, he faced charges of “incitement to terrorism” and “identifying with a terrorist organization” under Israel’s 2016 Counter-Terrorism Law. The charges, linked to slogans Khalefa chanted at a protest, highlight issues with the law’s potential to suppress dissent. After spending four months in prison, where he reported harsh conditions, Khalefa faced retaliation for his testimony. In January 2024, a court labeled him “too ideologically dangerous” to release, but the Supreme Court later placed him under house arrest, citing his clean record.

The move to Haifa for house arrest has separated Khalefa from his family and impacted his wife’s job. Additionally, there’s an ongoing effort to revoke his legal license. This case is part of a broader crackdown on Palestinian expression, with numerous indictments filed under the Counter-Terrorism Law, especially targeting social media activity. The situation underscores significant concerns for freedom of expression and assembly, particularly for Palestinians. Amnesty International is calling for the dismissal of charges against Khalefa and his unconditional release to allow him to continue his advocacy work.

Please take action as soon as possible until July 11, 2024! The UA will be duly updated should there be the need for further action.