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This World Poetry Day Help Free Palestinian Poet, Dareen Tatour

Monday 19 March 2018 - 7:38pm

PEN International president Jennifer Clement with Dareen Tatour at her home in Reineh near Nazareth. October 2017

Update - 3 May 2018

PEN International strongly condemns the decision of the Nazareth Magistrate's Court to convict Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour of ‘support for a terrorist organization’ and ‘incitement to violence’. The conviction is mainly related to a YouTube video in which she recites one of her poems entitled,‘Qawim ya sha’abi, qawimhum (Resist, my people, resist them).’

PEN International President Jennifer Clement, who met Dareen Tatour at her home in Nazareth last year, said:
 
“Dareen Tatour has been convicted for doing what writers do every day – we use our words to peacefully challenge injustice. I was incredibly honoured to meet Dareen at her home last year and PEN will continue to call for justice in this case.”
 
PEN believes that Dareen Tatour was targeted for her poetry and peaceful activism, and has been campaigning for her immediate release and for the charges against her to be dropped.
Further updates to follow.

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

Take action

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.

Write to:

Minister of Justice
Ayelet Shaked
Ministry of Justice
9 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91010
Israel
Fax: +972 2 628 5438
Email: sar@justice.gov.il

Attorney General
Avichai Mendelbilt
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91010
Israel
Fax: +972 2 530 3367
Email: lishkat-yoetz@justice.gov.il

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
Israel
Fax: +97 2-3 -68 99 80 1
Email: international@justice.gov.il

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.

Publicity

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/

Solidarity

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