Yesterday, August 27, Muhammad Abu Hummus, lead community activist in Al-Issawiya, was released from custody on 1000 NIS bail following a subsequent hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. The judge likewise issued a ban on his entry into Al-Issawiya until September 15. The Israel Police had originally demanded a 30-day entry prohibition along with 5000 NIS bail as conditions for his release.
As previously reported, the situation in Al-Issawiya has continued to deteriorate. According to sources on the ground, there was an acute intensification of police operations in the neighborhood last night. Due to the hostile environment created by the daily police incursions, the start of the school year will be delayed for neighborhood children. According to the local parents’ committee, schools will remain closed until all police raids end and calm is restored to the neighborhood.
BACKGROUND [recirculated from August 26 alert]
On August 25, Muhammad Abu Hummus, prominent community leader and representative of Al-Issawiya residents, was pulled from his bed in the middle of the night and arrested by Israeli police forces based on unfounded claims of incitement and support of terrorism.
Abu Hummus is a well-known activist and community leader who plays a central role in the nonviolent civil resistance to Israeli policies in East Jerusalem, particularly in the area of Al-Issawiya. Due to his involvement in protests, community organizing and advocacy on behalf of Al-Issawiya residents, he has been targeted and arrested by the police numerous times. A few months ago, Abu Hummus sued the police for false arrest. The case was subsequently dismissed after the police agreed to pay Abu Hummus 4,000 shekels to drop the lawsuit.
Over the course of the past two and half months of aggressive daily police raids into Al-Issawiya, Abu Hummus has worked tirelessly on behalf of his community, playing a key role in organizing protests, protecting neighborhood residents and disseminating crucial information regarding the situation on the ground. Among his activities, he assisted in the facilitation of Ir Amim’s recent diplomatic field briefing and discussion with Al-Issaiwya residents on July 31.
Following his arrest early Sunday morning, a hearing was held at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court in which the police requested a five-day extension to Abu Hummus' arrest to prevent potential obstruction of the investigation into the charges being brought against him. The judge rejected the request based on several unsubstantiated accusations and instead ruled that Abu Hummus could be released on the condition he stays away from the neighborhood until September 1.
The police subsequently appealed the judge’s decision, which prevented his immediate release, forcing Abu Hummus to remain in jail overnight.
Today, the Jerusalem District Court heard the appeal and decided to hold an additional court session tomorrow to hand down a final ruling. Abu Hummus will remain another night in custody.