On Wednesday, 2 January 2019, the Palestinian Court at Tulkarm dropped all charges against Ahmad Awartani. Addameer lawyer reported that according to the court’s decision there was no sufficient evidence against Ahmad, and his charges were not considered crimes rather they were expressions which fall under freedom of opinion and expression.
The Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Forces arrested Ahmad Awartani on 21 April 2018 without presenting an arrest warrant. Those forces transferred Ahmad to the Security Committee in Jericho where he was interrogated, ill-treated and tortured. Forms of torture were mainly through stress positions, deprivation of sleep and hygiene needs, psychological pressure, and ban on lawyer’s visitation in the first period of his detention.
He was released on 17 May 2018 on bail in order for the court process to continue later on. Ahmad’s charges were related to a personal FaceBook post and depending on the Palestinian Electronic Crime law, despite the fact that his interrogations exceeded this facebook post.
The fact that charges were dropped and the court ruled for Ahmad’s innocence is a piece of evidence by itself for his arbitrary detention. This also shows that the Palestinian Security Forces has the power to easily and arbitrarily arrest people. In Ahmad’s case and also other similar cases the Palestinian Security Forces violated several international conventions such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in an attempt to limit whatever space available for Palestinians to freely express themselves and to have political participation in their own communities.