Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba’aneh sentenced to 5 months in prison

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Right to life with dignity by Mohammad Saba’aneh  Oct 30, 2012

Very sad news.  Mohammad Saba’aneh, the acclaimed Palestinian Cartoonist who was detained February 16th at the Allenby Bridge checkpoint, was sentenced by the Israeli Salem Military Court on April 4th to 5 months in an Israeli prison for contact with a hostile organization

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Freedom by Mohammad Saba’aneh 05 Dec 2012

Initially Saba’aneh was held without charge. On March 19th an Israeli military court was supposed to announce a decision whether to present an indictment against Saba’aneh, instead they extended his detention.

At the time  Saba’aneh’s lawyer said there was no evidence Saba’aneh had committed any offense.

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Don’t Shoot by Mohammad Saba’aneh

According to the following report Saba’aneh’s lawyer informs Mohammad had contacted a publisher in Amman Jordan who published a book about Palestinian prisoners. Possibly Israel considers books about Palestinian prisoners  a threat to their security.

The Cartoon Movement, courtesy of Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), Mohammad Saba’aneh Sentenced to Five Months in Prison:

Thursday April 4, Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba’aneh was sentenced by a military court in Salem to five months in prison and a fine of 10,000 shekels for ‘contact with a hostile organization’. The news is confirmed by Mohammad’s brother Adel and his lawyer Riadh Arda.

……..

Book about Palestinian prisoners

According to Saba’aneh’s lawyer Riyadh Arda, Mohammad was accused of contact with and assistance to a hostile organization and transporting money for a hostile organization. Adel Saba’aneh tells RNW: “The only thing Mohammad did was contact a publisher in Amman who publishes a book about Palestinian prisoners.” This book was compiled by their other brother, Thamer Saba’aneh. Thamer has been a member of Hamas and was arrested weeks after Mohammad. He is still being held.

Tired of transport and food

Initially, Mohammad denied all accusations. The only reason that Mohammad has accepted the conviction is, according to Adel Saba’aneh, because he could no longer bear the conditions in the prison where he was held. “He’s sick, he was transported to a different place every few days and a pre-existing intestinal condition was aggravated because of the prison food.”Adel Saba’aneh thinks that the cartoons of his brother and his international reputation have played a role in sentencing. “In similar cases, the lawyers say people are often released, but the authorities were determined to convict Mohammad. The longer he would refuse to confess, the higher the sentence would be. They would not let him go.”

 

Some people have a problem with Saba’aneh’s Cartoons:

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by Mohammad Saba’aneh

Mohammad’s brother Thaer Saba’aneh, now arrested, was a specialist in prisoners’ affairs. Perhaps the ‘hostile’ organization was Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Organization, or perhaps Israel considers Mohammad Saba’aneh’s ideas and talent a threat to its national security.

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by Mohammad Saba’aneh

The International Council for Human Rights reports Saba’aneh has been actively critical of the Israel’s policies on administrative detentions:

His work is focusing on addressing and supporting the Palestinian hunger striker detainees in the Israeli prisons. Sabaana has received many awards at national and international festivals for his cartoons.

This is what threatens Israel:

6a014e5f5d3c7c970c017c385cf02e970b 750wiPalestinian prisoners in Israeli jails by Mohammad Saba’aneh Apr 27, 2012

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani
Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation | Tagged ,

{ 25 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Nevada Ned says:

    This answers the question, “Is Israel a democracy?”
    For Palestinians, the answer is a resounding NO.
    Palestinians don’t have any rights.

    • Joe Ed says:

      You may not have noticed, but the USA is no longer a democracy for Muslims and pretty much never has been for blacks and browns

  2. Citizen says:

    Compare his cartoons with Captain Israel comix, sponsored by StandWithUs. The Captain fights BDS. I don’t think Foreskin Man comix come from this group.

  3. Refaat says:

    again, why was he imprisoned and sentenced?

    • open the embed in the last sentence refaat, as well as the “ideas” embed.

      he is imprisoned because he’s an internationally recognized brilliant palestininan jewel. his ideas and images of freedom coupled with extraordinary talent are dangerous to israel’s national security.

    • also, please open the first link in the article if you have not already. there are some clues there that might explain….

      Below is a 2010 photo of Mohammed in front of the White house. He attended the annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), part of International Visitor Leadership Program sponsored by the U.S. State Department

      perhaps there existed some hope Mohammed would play a more collaborative role as he developed. something of a more productive nature than focusing on prisoners rights.

      obviously his talent was recognized early on. maybe he just chose the wrong team, and his detainment was initially intended to persuade him to chose another path, one he rejected. hence, his punishment. i just hope he finds the rainbow in his mind during his incarceration. and i really hope they do not extend his sentence.

      • gamal says:

        The South African community project film Mapantsula deals with the issues around collaboration very well,

        link to ccms.ukzn.ac.za

      • Annie,
        Because he was a State Dept. Fellow, please call the Israel/Palestine desk at the State Department to ask if they are following this case and if they have expressed concern. In addition, ask your congressperson’s staff to contact the State Department on your behalf as State is more likely to respond to a Congressional inquiry. Are you in Rep. Pelosi’s district? Also ask her staff to express your concern, publicly or privately, to the Israeli Embassy — they have 3 floors set-up to respond to Congress.

        • thanks rebuilding, will do.

        • NickJOCW says:

          He’s sick, he was transported to a different place every few days and a pre-existing intestinal condition was aggravated because of the prison food.

          In that case there is a danger he may die given the Israeli prison service medical record. When you contact these people you might add that even if they feel they cannot interfere with the Israeli judicial system (sic) can they at least ensure that his medical condition is monitored given what recently happened to Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh.

    • Talkback says:

      Refaat says: “again, why was he imprisoned and sentenced?”

      He sketched a kid throwing stones. That frightened the most moral army of the world.

  4. markpg says:

    As his brother is in Hamas, it’s only logical that Mohammad was in contact with him. It seems that it’s reason enough to convict him – for being a “relative of the enemy of the people”. The Chosen People.

    • Avi_G. says:

      Not necessarily.

      The great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish — who passed away in 2008 — was under house arrest for years.

      In addition, Israeli authorities often accuse Palestinian scholars and artists of the specious charge of incitement. Under military rule, it is enough for Israel to make that charge for authorities to lock up any Palestinian they wish.

      And while Palestinians seeking freedom are considered by Israel to be inciting the masses, non-Jewish Israeli citizens who dare call for equality are often victims of trumped up charges. Meanwhile, progressives outside of Israel who campaign for equality and freedom are often smeared as anti-Semites or as threats to Israel’s security.

      Surely, you can see the pattern that emerges from all this.

      Israel goes after ANYONE who dares criticize its policies.

      So it locks up Palestinian cartoonists and bans Chomsky from entering.

      • seafoid says:

        Avi

        “Israel goes after ANYONE who dares criticize its policies”.

        It’s all pointless. It doesn’t work. They can push through whatever policy they want but the Palestinians will never respect them as they need to be respected. They’ll never accept the madness.

        The death of Margaret Thatcher is a very interesting moment for right wing ideology.

        She really trashed Liverpool economically. But people still don’t accept what she did.

        link to youtube.com

        “When Maggie Thatcher dies we’re going to have a party , we’re going to have a party”

        Sung at Liverpool vs Sunderland in the English soccer league the day she died.

  5. A publisher is a ‘hostile organisation’? The only hostile entity here is Israel and its apartheid justice system. What a trumped-up kangaroo court, determined to silence someone who is far more talented and insightful than the dullards and cowards who populate the israeli ‘justice’ system – itself a joke which Saba’aneh will no doubt capitalise on. When they can’t shut up someone up, this is what they do. This is censorship and stupidity in equal measure. So now Israel is terrified of satire deployed against them – yes, this is a fine example of Israeli-style democracy in action. You know they have lost the battle for public opinion when this is what they are reduced to – the sort of thing typical of Stalinist Eastern European states during the Cold War. Saba’aneh – I hope your work is published widely across the world as a result of this idiocy. More power to your pen, which is much more powerful than the censorious cowardly Israeli state, whose only aim is to break the spirit of people who speak the truth. The truth is the danger that Israeli is terrified of.

    • Saba’aneh – I hope your work is published widely across the world as a result of this idiocy.

      jwp, Saba’aneh’s work is already published all over the world and especially all over the arab world. (from before he was ever detained) i found this out while working on my original draft about his detainment (first link in article).

      to give you an idea of how popular he is open google’s image drop link to images.google.com now choose one of his images and drag it into the search and when the result comes up click on “all sizes”. it will take you to a page like this. each one of these represents sites who have published Saba’aneh’s work. many before his incarceration, like this link to sabbah.biz

      and as The International Council for Human Rights reported, he’s received many awards at national and international festivals for his cartoons.

      • Excellent, that’s great to hear. Thanks for the info, Annie. I guess his global audience is even more reason for the small-minded ideologues to want to shut him up, although news of his censorship/incarceration will also fuel even more disgust with Israel with this audience, which just shows how counter productive the actions of these petty bureaucrats and thought police are.

  6. RE: “Mohammad Saba’aneh, the acclaimed Palestinian Cartoonist who was detained February 16th at the Allenby Bridge checkpoint, was sentenced by the Israeli Salem Military Court on April 4th to 5 months in an Israeli prison for ‘contact with a hostile organization’.* . . . Mohammad had contacted a publisher in Amman Jordan who published a book about Palestinian prisoners. Possibly Israel considers books about Palestinian prisoners a threat to their security.” ~ Annie Robbins
    * Many Americans (certainly not myself) would consider the ACLU to be a “hostile organization”!

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  7. Terry Weber says:

    Ms. Robbins, Thank you for covering this important issue and person. I have know Mohammad since 2006 when when he was a member of the board of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin. Mohammad is a cartoonist for Al-Hayat al-Jadida, the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, and works in the public relations department at the Arab American University in Jenin on the West Bank. His active participation in the global cartooning community has meant that cartoonists from around the world are following his plight closely.

    The IOF (Israel Occupying Forces) have lately been targeting, shooting at and imprisoning press and cartoonist. This is to be expected as the past and assassinated director of the Freedom Theatre, Juliano Mer Khamis, said, the third intifada will be a cultural one.

    • Mohammad is a cartoonist for Al-Hayat al-Jadida, the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, and works in the public relations department at the Arab American University in Jenin on the West Bank. His active participation in the global cartooning community has meant that cartoonists from around the world are following his plight closely.

      thank you terry, and thank you for commenting. yes i am aware of this and have written about Mohammed in the past, here:

      Israel imprisons Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba’aneh without charge, sparks international demands for his release

      link to mondoweiss.net

      perhaps i should leave a note for readers to open the first link in the article. MW front paged this news on the first article.

      the first time i ever heard of Mohammad Saba’aneh i spent hours and hours reviewing his cartoons ( as i did preparing this article, and am still doing all morning ). i became a little obsessed with his talent and his arrest for i know he is innocent of anything a free person would consider a crime.

      anyway, i could not forget his abduction and began checking for news of his release every few days. this is how i found out his detainment had been extended and then…the sentence. naturally, i am very worried about other talented palestinian youth. with some, it effects me more: link to mondoweiss.net

      that would include other young palestinians i have become acquainted with thru mondoweiss. i know what israel is doing. stealing palestine’s youth. they are palestine’s future, they are the greatest threat to israel. it worries me considerably. this is not a job i leave at the door, there is no going home from my understanding of what is occurring. there is no leaving it behind. this will not stop until the world stops it, and the jewels of palestine are on the front lines.

  8. Mike_Konrad says:

    That is stiff I will grant you.

    It does not seem fair. They used the artist to get at the brother, Thamer.

    • They used the artist to get at the brother, Thamer.

      that’s bs. they could have just picked up Thaer , he wasn’t hiding. he was a specialist in prisoner affairs. and they arrested him about a week after abducting mohammend. had that been the case, that mohammed was arrested to get to his brother they would have released him after arresting Thaer.

      they had nothing on mohammed and needed an extension, probably to torture a confession out of him or get him to implicate his brother or something.

      we’re dealing with a corrupt sadistic system of oppression, obviously.

    • What nonsense MK. You are making up get-out clauses, as usual, with a little snarky attempt at undermining him and his family. What ludicrous excuse do you have for all the other Palestinians held and tortured without trial, simply for being who they are? Do you think he is an exception to the routine abuse of the indigenous people, who simply have the ‘wrong’ parents?

  9. just says:

    Heaven knows that there is terrible injustice, cruelty, apartheid, theft and illegal occupation in Palestine.

    This is so sad and wrong. His work is unbelievably beautiful.

    • And thus the terrible irony: even though the land they inhabit and many of the buildings are a product of Palestinian civilisation, their rigid, ugly mindset is to deny the Palestinians any acknowledgement of the fact, their goal is to methodically crush and kill any Palestinian spirit – and where better than to attack the beauty and culture of Palestinian artistry – its existence is an affront to these tiny-minded state barbarians who are threatened by the fact of Palestinian history and culture and its unacknowledged centrality to the land they live in.