Detention as a means to Political Silencing: the case of theatre artist Samieh Jabbarin

Click on the photo to sign the petition referred to at the end of the article.

The house-arrest for an indefinite period of time of Jaffa-based theatre artist Samieh Jabbarin signals a sharp escalation in the harassment of citizens engaged democratically and legally in expressing their political views.

The case of Samieh Jabbarin exposes the close cooperation of the Israeli Security Services, police and Attorney General’s office. A crass attempt is being made to incriminate a peace-seeking social-political activist by fabricating charges of violence. Unfortunately, the courts of justice have not yet put a halt to this mode of action.

The story is directed at stage, television and film artists both in Israel and abroad; journalists of the printed and electronic media; persons visibly active in education and culture; lawyers and other members of the justice community; social and human-rights activists everywhere.

This article is a summary of the one circulated by the friends of Samieh, compiled with special thanks to Ray & Avigail.

The facts
Samieh Jabbarin, 41-years old, a citizen of Israel native of Um al Fahm, is a theater and film director. He was professionally and academically trained in Germany and is currently completing his Masters degree at the Theatre Arts Department of Tel Aviv University. Upon his return to his native country, he settled in Jaffa and, among other things, engaged in the struggle against the current wave of attempts to evict Arab-Palestinian residents. Samieh is also active in the Abna al Balad movement and was among the organizers of last year’s Haifa conference on the Right of Return and a secular democratic state. Last December he helped organize public mourning rallies and non-violent protests against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

In January 2009, Samieh was warned by the Security Services that a way will be found to punish him for this civil and political activity. The opportunity presented itself on February 10th, general election day in Israel. A group of extreme rightist fanatics announced their intention to serve as official monitors of the voting process in Um al Fahm, second largest Arab city in Israel. Samieh, a native of this town, joined residents in a protest demonstration. He was arrested along with a fellow-resident minutes after the event began. On the very next day – in unprecedented haste – detailed charges were presented at the Hadera court against him for supposedly assaulting the Chief of the Northern Border Patrol, Commander Uri Mor-Yossef.

All attempts to disprove and deny such outright deception have been in vain. The open ‘secret’ is that Israeli police video-document all demonstrations and arrests.

In this case, however, no evidence was produced beyond the police officer’s own statement.

Samieh was held prisoner in Kishon Prison under harsh conditions for seventeen days, and following a legal struggle, was transferred to strict house-arrest at his parents’ home in Um al Fahm. Two family members must be with him at all times, and an electronic shackle is attached to his ankle.

Officially, this ruling is in force “until the end of the legal proceedings”. These proceedings, however, have come to a strange near-halt: in sharp contrast to the speed with which it charged him, the system is in no hurry to expose the prosecution’s evidence at an open trial. The prosecution “forgot” to summon Samieh and his attorneys to the indictment last month. Consequently, another indictment has been set for April 27th and who knows how many months will elapse until the trial itself.

Thus, Samieh Jabbarin is denied access to his creative work, his studies, and his normal living environment. His fate also serves as a blatant warning to intimidate other social and political activists.

We appeal to all who are personally committed to fundamental democratic values to raise their voice and demand an immediate end to this deplorable affair. We must expose the questionable method of false accusations and frame-ups in attempting to silence political resisters. This appeal is directed at

Citizens who still care about democracy – wherever they are -we are all called upon to act for the freedom of speech, the freedom of congregation and the freedom of non-violent political activity of Samieh Jabbarin as well as all other citizens of Israel – Jews and Arabs alike.


The Petition
Please sign this petition from the the Israeli group ‘New Profile‘, and consider passing it on to as many people as you can.

To sign the petition, please enter Beneath the Hebrew is the English translation and below that is where you sign the petition.

  1. In the first line type your full name,
  2. in the second line put your city/country, and
  3. in the third line put your email address.
  4. Leave blank the other lines (for optional phone numbers).
  5. Then click on the red stamp just below where you can write a comment.

Language Notes: ‘Atzuma’ in Hebrew means Petition.
It says “khatimah” meaning “signature, conclusion, subscription” (from the verb “khatam” meaning “sign, seal, close, subscribe”) which is closely related to the Arabic word “khaatimah” meaning “conclusion”.
The Hebrew word “khatimah” combines the meanings of the Arabic words “khaatam/khaatim” meaning “seal, signet, stamp”and “khitaam” meaning “sealing wax; end, close, conclusion” (both from the verb “khatama” meaning “seal, stamp, conclude”)

Related articles:

The Story of Monthather al-Zaidi, the journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush.

See also the 1986 Mossad kidnapping of Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli citizen who blew the whistle on Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

4 thoughts on “Detention as a means to Political Silencing: the case of theatre artist Samieh Jabbarin

  1. Ray Bergmann says:

    To sign the petition, go to

    Beneath the Hebrew is the English translation and below that is where you sign the petition. In the first line type your full name, in the second line put your city/country, and in the third line put your email address. Leave blank the other lines (for optional phone numbers). Then click on the red stamp just below where you can write a comment.

  2. Some Comments on Petition says:

    Some comments on the petition so far:

    Valerie Joy, Brisbane — Israel as a democracy must value the rights of its citizens to engage in peaceful non violent protest.

    Kami Amiri, Brisbane — How can you define a country democratic, while all the Arab parties were “disqualified” in the recent ellection and the government’s officials openly claim for ethnic cleansing of its Arab citizens(20% of Israelis)?

    Herzliya, Israel — enlightened house arrest of Samieh Jabbarin. A country may not prevent democratic freedom of speech and freedom of movement because of political views. This contradicts one of the most fundamental principles of any democratic country. Israel has already decided to cease to be democratic. [Translated from Hebrew, apologies for any errors].

    Ray Bergmann, Brisbane —Israel should be secular and democratic – a “Jewish” state is by definition undemocratic and the non-Jewish residents will be always be persecuted.

    Carmel Dobson — first in Brisbane to sign petition.

  3. Friends of Samieh says:


    Good news!

    Some days ago, our friend Samieh Jabbarin was released from the house-arrest he had been held under for nearly ten months.

    He is back into his own life-routine, and to the ongoing struggle at court, where he is to be tried for the fabricated charges of assaulting a police officer at Um Al Fahm on the Knesset Election Day, February 2009.

    His trial opens in January 2010.


    בשורות טובות: לפני זמן לא רב שוחרר חברנו סמיח ג’בארין ממעצר-הבית שבו הוחזק בעשרת החודשים האחרונים. הוא חזר לשגרת חייו וממשיך להיאבק על חפותו בבית-המשפט, שם תלויה ועומדת נגדו האשמה מופרכת של תקיפת קצין משטרה באום-אל-פאחם ביום הבחירות לכנסת ישראל בחודש פברואר 2009.
    משפטו עתיד להתחיל בחודש ינואר 2010.
    מצורף לכם בזאת מכתב מסמיח.

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