PEN International condemns the ongoing house arrest and prosecution of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour. A recent letter from the Israeli Office of the Deputy Attorney General to the PEN Centre in Melbourne Australia does not respond to the legitimate concerns we have raised about Dareen Tatour’s prosecution.
The letter states that Tatour has been charged with incitement to violence and solidarity with acts of violence, following publications of her work on Facebook and YouTube, and in particular her “song” entitled, ‘Qawim ya sha’abi, qawimhum (Resist, my people, resist them).’
Tatour is a poet and not a singer, and she was in fact reading a poem on the YouTube video in question. The poem is set to music against a backdrop of video footage of Palestinian resistance – as men throw stones at armed Israeli soldiers. In her poem, Tatour denounces violations committed by the Israeli authorities against Palestinians, and incites them to resist the Israeli occupation; but she does not call for violence. Peacefully exercising the right to free expression is not a crime.
PEN has carefully reviewed the charge sheet and the evidence against Tatour, and has concluded that she has been targeted for her poetry and peaceful activism. Consequently, it continues to call for her immediate release and for the charges against her to be dropped.
In October 2017, PEN International’s President, Jennifer Clement, and PEN’s Executive Director, Carles Torner, visited Tatour at her home in Reineh near Nazareth. This is Tatour’s message to the PEN membership:
‘As a detained poet, your support gave me a spark of hope that would never extinguish, and it confirmed that there is someone who works to protect the rights of the writer and the poet as a human being, and to ensure that the spark of creativity remains alight forever. Thank you PEN International. Thanks very much for visiting me, for your support, and standing by poets and writers who suffer and face imprisonment like myself solely for expressing their views through art.’
For more information on Tatour’s case, see our last action here
Please send appeals to the Israeli authorities:
- Urging them to release poet Dareen Tatour from house arrest immediately and unconditionally;
- Calling for all charges against Dareen Tatour to be dropped as she is being held solely for her peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression.
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
9 Salah al-Din Street
Fax: +972 2 628 5438
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Fax: +972 2 530 3367
Ministry of Justice
The Office of the Deputy Attorney General (International Law)
Alisa Gannel, Adv.
P. O. B ox 929 9
Tel Aviv 6 1 092
Fax: +97 2-3 -68 99 80 1
Please copy your appeals to the Embassy of Israel in your country. A list of embassies can be found here: http://www.allembassies.com/israeli_embassies.htm. Please also send us copies of your letters or information about other activities and of any responses received.
PEN members are encouraged to:
- Publish articles and opinion pieces in your national or local press highlighting Dareen Tatour’s case;
- Organise public events, press conferences, poetry readings or demonstrations;
- Join the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee in translating Tatour’s poetry, available in the original Arabic here and other languages here:
- If you have not already done so, consider signing this petition for Tatour: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/dareen/
Consider adopting Dareen Tatour as an Honorary Member of your Centre. Details of how to campaign for honorary members may be found in the Writers in Prison Committee Handbook, available 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