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MUSTAFA SHETA IMPRISONMENT

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On the 13th of December 2023, Mustafa Sheta, Producer of The Freedom Theatre was taken by the Israeli army. He continues to be held without charge or trial.

Below is further information including:

1. December Invasion

2. Mustafa's Arrest and current situation

3. What you can do 

4. Witness testimonies of Mustafa's arrest

5. Press Coverage 

1. DECEMBER INVASION

The 12th, 13th and 14th of December saw the largest invasion in Jenin Camp since 2002, an estimated 300 people were arrested by the Israeli army and twelve Palestinians were killed.

On the morning of the 13th of December, the Israeli army began attacking and ransacking The Freedom Theatre. They shot from inside the theatre, destroying the offices.

The army then went to the homes of Artistic Director, Ahmed Tobasi and Producer Mustafa Sheta where they were blindfolded,  handcuffed and taken away. That evening the army went to the home of Jamal Abu Joas and severely beat him and then took him.

 

Ahmed Tobasi was released the next day and Jamal Abu Joas was released after eight days. Mustafa Sheta remains in prison.

FOR MORE ON THE DECEMBER ATTACKS >>

2. MUSTAFA ARREST & CURRENT SITUATION

UPDATE 16:40 EET 31ST DECEMBER 2023

“The lawyer told me what happened in court and that we cannot do anything. They are in “a state of war” and the army is the one who decides the fate of the prisoners” - Rasha Abu Moais, wife to Mustafa

Mustafa Sheta, producer of The Freedom Theatre, has been given six months of administrative detention. He is a precautionary detainee imprisoned without charge.

 

Israel has presented no evidence against Mustafa but suggested they do not want him outside the prison because he writes articles criticizing Israel.

 

Previously Mustafa's lawyer was able to see him for ten minutes. Mustafa was transferred to Salem prison for investigation. The questions were: "Are you affiliated with an organization? Do you engage in political activity?"

 

Mustafa's "trial" was in a closed military court, and only the lawyer could enter. These "trials" by the Israeli occupying army, are normally judged by a military officer. There is no justice or judicial process and military orders always take precedence over Israeli and international law. On the rare occasions when international law is used, it is done so to favour the occupying power.

Administration detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold Palestinians indefinitely on "secret information" without charge or trial. 800,000 Palestinians have been held in this system since 1967 with the longest detention for eight years.

Since October 7th, there have been reports of an increase in physical and psychological torture by Israel inside the prisons, and at least six Palestinians have been killed.  

Mustafa was previously held in Megiddo prison located in Israel (historically Palestine). Under Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, all Palestinian detainees are supposed to be held in the West Bank. Therefore any Israeli violation of this Article attracts personal criminal liability.

Poet and graduate from The Freedom Theatre Jamal Abu Joas, saw Mustafa in prison, where they were both being held. Mustafa said to him, “Let's make a theatre in prison and we can work from here”

In 2015, Mustafa was taken by the Israeli army and held in Administrative detention for six months.

 

At that time, Mustafa was the secretary of the Board of The Freedom Theatre. As a researcher and journalist, he was well-known for his social and humanitarian activism. He also worked at the United Nations and studied for a Master’s degree at the Arab American University.

 

Upon his release in 2015, he lost his job at the United Nations. However, their loss was The Freedom Theatre’s gain and he became the Producer in 2017.

3. WHAT YOU CAN DO

PUBLIC LETTER'S
DEMANDING MUSTAFA SHETA'S RELEASE 

 

Public letters and statements from artists and cultural organisations around the world demanding Mustafa Sheta's release. Please sign or use as a template to create you own

MORE GUIDANCE ON STATEMENT WRITING IS HERE >>

SCROLL UP & DOWN / RIGHT & LEFT TO SEE ALL 

OUR 14 DEMANDS

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These fourteen demands are collated by The Freedom Theatre and Artists On the Frontline in response to the question “What can we do?” often asked when artists are attacked or Palestine is on the front page of the news. The aim is to provide a framework for international artists, activists and cultural organisations to mobilise around. DEMAND 3 specifically addresses artist imprisonment.

INSPIRATION
FOR ACTION

 

Image by Guille Casanova Corral from Flyers For Falastin

This is a guide to the type of action you can take and worldwide examples, with a specific focus on artists and culture.

ORGANISE OR
JOIN A PROTEST

Image From Artists Against Apartheid
PHOTOS FROM ORGANISING FRIENDS OF THE FREEDOM THEATRE USA AL LIMINITE COLLECTIVE & MEDICIN
PHOTOS OF FRIENDS OF THE FREEDOM THEATRE FRANCE
PHOTOS FROM ORGANISING FRIENDS OF THE FREEDOM THEATRE USA AL LIMINITE COLLECTIVE & MEDICIN
PHOTOS OF FRIENDS OF THE FREEDOM THEATRE

A step by step guide to creating your own creative protest.

The Revolution's Promise is a collection of testimonies from artists across Palestine, celebrating cultural resistance and highlighting censorship and attacks on artists including on Mustafa Sheta's arrest.

We are inviting friends, activists, and artits worldwide to join this collaboration by telling these stories in the community you live, work or organise in. There are many ways to get involved, a few include: 

- organise a public reading of the full script, 

- read a testimony at your university, union, community group, or cultural venue

- organise a reading group and create participatory discussion,

 

Get involved and participate in a creative mass-mobilisation project that aims to build a global conversation about censorship of Palestinian culture and the role arts play in fighting for justice, equality and self-determination.

Images by Flyers For Falastin & Falesteen Favorites

MAKE BADGES

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Make badges to highlight Mustafa Sheta Producer of The Freedom Theatre imprisonment without trial or charge.

WRITE A LETTER TO MUSTAFA

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Please send letters to trp@thefreedomtheatre.com with LETTER in the heading.

4. WITNESS TESTIMONIES

RASHA ABU MOAIS STATEMENT - wife to Mustafa Sheta

He was arrested 13/12/2023 from our house in the city of Jenin where he was handcuffed and taken in front of our children with no mercy or any consideration to our feelings. My children spent their night crying. We felt so scared without him being around with us. We feel very sad for him being away, especially since we don't know why he was arrested.  We call for everyone who can help us to stand with my husband and release him from this occupation.

HALA SHETA - 14-year-old daughter of Mustafa Sheta

I woke up to the sound of an explosion at the entrance to the main door of the house. I was surprised that the army had surrounded and entered our home. I didn't know what was going on.  I found a soldier in front of me, and he pointed his weapon as he took me to the sitting room. My family were already there in a state of tension. 

 

My father was still in his bedroom putting on his clothes because he knew they had come to take him.

The army asked us, “Whose house is this?” and their questions continued until my father came out and said, “This is Mustafa Sheta’s house”.

 

They put him against the wall, searched him and asked for his ID. It was in another room, so they asked my mother to bring it. Two soldiers accompanied her the whole time. They took all our phones, even throwing one on the ground and breaking it.

 

I had my hands in my pockets, and the soldier thought I had something in my possession and forced me to take them out. They searched my mother’s bag but luckily, when my family heard the soldiers were coming, they hid everything, so they couldn’t find anything valuable to steal. Meanwhile, they put my father against the wall, tied his hands behind him and filmed him with their devices. 

 

As they started to leave my little brother cried out, “Where are you taking my father?”

 

He was screaming and the soldier went to hit him. They told us to stay inside the house and not move. Then they left, taking my father with them…

 

My father, the most precious person in my life and my friend. I cannot be without him. I need him very much, and I want him to come back as soon as possible so I can hug him. If I could speak to my father now I would tell him: If only you knew how much I love you and how much I miss you. If I went back in time and knew that this would happen, I would never leave you again. 

 

Not once did I expect to be in this situation, and to have this feeling. 

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5. PRESS COVERAGE

Scroll down for press coverage on the December attacks on The Freedom Theatre

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