Category Archives: personal case

Mohammed Abu Sakha released on 30 August

After after spending 625 days in an Israeli prison without charge or trial (see ACAR posts 1, 2, 3, and 4) , Mohammed Abu Sakha, trainer and performer at Palestinian Circus School was released on 30 August and returned to his family. He was arrested at an Israeli checkpoint on 14 December 2015 on his way to work at the Palestinian Circus School, and held since then under a series of administrative orders. Israel’s Shin Bet security agency accused him of being a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the Jewish state considers a terrorist group because of its armed wing. Abu Sakha denied the allegations and said Israeli forces never told him the exact reason for his arrest or how long he would be detained. His imprisonment had sparked a high-profile campaign for his release, with support from circus performers and activists around the world, with Amnesty international calling for him to be “charged with a crime or released”.

“It’s shocking to see how someone can be imprisoned for 21 months, without charge, and at the end be released without being charged with any crime at all. They took away 21 months of his life, and 21 months from those that needed him.” (Shadi Zmorrod, founder of the Palestinian Circus School).

Abu Sakha’s release came against the backdrop of a stark rise in the number of those newly detained without charge or trial by Israel.

Sources: Amnesty International, Middle East Eye, The Times of Israel


Full story of Kirill Serebrennikow’s show trial

John Freedman, theatre critic for The Moscow Times, provides analysis and background for the case against Russian director Kirill Serebrennikow as worldwide protest continues.

The Moscow Times also reported that Serebrennikow allegedly passed a letter to the German actor Lars Eidinger (Schaubühne Berlin) with instructions to publish in the case of his arrest. “Kirill did not send him anything and did not ask for any help,” Serebrennikow’s lawyer Kharitnov is cited, “We assume this is a provocation.”

International artists protest against the arrest of Kirill Serebrennikov

“We protest against the arrest of Kirill Serebrennikov. The charges against him are untenable and indicative of the fact that the intention is to silence an internationally renowned director.” Director Thomas Ostermeier and playwright Marius von Mayenburg (Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, Berlin) have started a petition on to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Prosecution Service. Serebrennikov has been arrested on 22nd of August. The petition has already more than 3.500 supporters. See also entry from June 27.

Petition on (German and English)
Serebrennikov’s facebook page
Voices from Russian artists: Ivan Vyrypaev, Lyudmila Ulitzkaya, Teodor Kurentsis

Sources: The Guradian, Tagesschau

Chinese Performance Artist Chen Yunfei for 4 years in prison

The Wuhou District PChen Yunfeieople’s Court in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital, convicted Chen Yunfei, 49, for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and sentenced him to four years in prison, reported Human Rights Watch on 31 March 2017. The conviction of Chen Yunfei related to tweets critical of the Chinese government and his various performance art projects, including one in which Chen Yunfei called the police to report an “illegal gathering,” which turned out to be a government conference. Police had detained Chen Yunfei in March 2015, after he organized a memorial service for victims of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. Chen has suffered a near 2 year long pre-trial detention and he was tortured twice for violating the rules of the detention center. One of the original charges against Chen – “inciting subversion of state power” – was dropped from the indictment in March 2016.
Voice Project has an online petition.

Sources: Human Rights Watch, Artsfreedom