20 September 2018
Available in Arabic
PEN International warmly welcomes the news that poet Dareen Tatour was released from prison in Israel on 19 September 2018. Tatour was convicted of incitement to violence and support for terror organisations in May 2018, and then handed a five-month prison sentence in July, with six months suspended, which could be activated if she is convicted of any new offence. However, having already served three months in prison, she was only required to serve a further two months.
Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet and citizen of Israel, has mostly lived under house arrest since October 2015. Tatour’s conviction is mainly related to a video in which she recites one of her poems entitled: ‘Qawim ya sha’abi, qawimhum (Resist, my people, resist them).’
On 8 August 2018, Tatour entered the special wing of Damoun Prison as she was classified as a ‘security’ prisoner. She was therefore denied access to her phone and the internet, as well as restrictions in receiving clothes from outside. Despite regulations allowing visits from relatives, Tatour’s father was denied permission to visit his daughter, reportedly receiving a response which stated ‘She does not deserve a visit.’ He and Dareen’s mother were finally allowed to visit her on 5 September, after almost a month in prison.
Upon her release today, Tatour commented: “I have gained my freedom and I will continue to write. All my suffering was due to a poem I wrote and it saddens me that they (Israeli authorities) imprisoned me for writing the poem".
PEN International has been supporting Tatour for several years and considers that she was targeted for peacefully exercising her right to free expression through poetry and activism.
To read PEN International’s interview with Tatour, click here.
For any further information, please contact Nael Georges, PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN | Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 | Email: Nael.Georges@pen-international.org