The Dutch authorities have been detaining Palestinian activist Amin Abu Rashed since last June pending investigation into suspicions of sending money to organizations linked to the Islamic Resistance Movement "Hamas". Abu Rashid and his family denied this.
The Dutch prosecutor extended the detention of the Palestinian activist for the third time, knowing that the Netherlands is one of the few countries in Europe that still adopts detention pending investigation.
Abu Rashid's arrest shocked Palestinians in the Netherlands and Europe in general. With the length of detention, his family is increasingly concerned about his health condition, especially since he is considered to have special needs and his arm is amputated.
A number of activists link the arrest of Abu Rashid, who heads the "European campaign to lift the siege on Gaza", to the organization of the Conference of Palestinians of Europe in the Swedish city of Malmo last May, followed by arrest three weeks later. Activists say the reason for the arrest is the success of the conference and the inconvenience it causes to the lobby supporting the Israeli occupation in Europe.
🎥 Media Coverage | A protest against the arrest of activist Amin Abu Rashid in Dutch prisons on charges of humanitarian support to Gaza.
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Information from outside the Netherlands
Lawyer Nick van Breemann, who is defending Abu Rashid, insists that the information on which the investigation was based is coming from abroad, and not based on investigations inside the Netherlands, stressing that he does not see "any concrete evidence or real data indicating that Abu Rashid finances Hamas."
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, the lawyer added that the Dutch prosecutor builds all his accusations on very old things or investigations coming from abroad, "which makes me question them and do not consider them incriminating evidence against my client," adding that on the 26th of this month the prosecutor will return to reveal data that he says are new, "and we will wait to see what their nature, but if they are like what is currently there, I am sure my client will be fully acquitted."
Mazen Abu Khalil, secretary-general of the Palestinian Conference of Europe, described Abu Rashid's arrest as arbitrary, adding, "We consider that he pays the price for the success of the Palestinian Conference of Europe, which was a huge event for the Palestinian community in Europe."
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Abu Khalil stressed that the arrest is primarily political "because the Dutch authorities have gleaned their information from Israeli authorities," wondering "how to live 40 years in the Netherlands and known for his activity for all, to violate the laws?".
Abu Khalil quoted sources close to the investigation as saying that "there is no physical evidence or legal document to confirm the validity of the accusations against Abu Rashid," adding that the Dutch authorities have so far refused to reveal who "alleged" him.
Abu Rashid's arrest "is a message of intimidation to all pro-Palestinian activists, as Palestinian action has never been targeted in this way in Europe," he said, adding that after the recent Palestinian European conference, "signs of anger of the Israeli lobby emerged through incitement against activists, whether Palestinians or Europeans sympathetic to the Palestinian cause".
Abu Khalil warned of "this dangerous curve, which involves a lot of reaping on Palestinian work, and also shows submission to the pressure of the occupying power."
Shock and sadness
With much sadness, um Ibrahim (Abu Rashid's wife) recalls the details of his arrest, saying, "At seven o'clock in the morning, a huge security force came to the house, and they asked to open the door or it would be broken, and we opened it so that police officers all masked entered us in a very terrifying scene." After these scenes, the police will read the indictment against Abu Rashid "and he will be taken to prison."
And tells um Ibrahim to Al Jazeera Net that for a week her husband was prohibited from communicating with his family "and we did not know anything about him except the place of detention," noting that in a remote prison "we need 3 hours of driving to reach the prison, and we are allowed to visit once a week."
The wife warned of the deterioration of Abu Rashid's health condition, "especially since his hand is amputated and suffers from chronic diseases of pressure and others, in addition to his age and the impact of the shock on him," stressing that Abu Rashid's family "so far has not understood what happened and we are under the impact of shock."
She said that only one party has an interest in silencing Abu Rashid and inciting against him, "and we hope that the Dutch judiciary will not succumb to any pressure in this case."