PEN International ‘deeply concerned’ by Palestinian poet’s reported arrest by Israeli forces

PEN International is deeply concerned by the reported arrest of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour on 31 October 2015 by Israeli forces.

Tatour, a resident of Reineh village in northern Israel, was arrested on charges of “incitement to violence” and “support for a terror organisation” in relation to a poem she posted online as well as a photo. If found guilty, she could face up to five years in prison.

PEN International calls on the Israeli authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Dareen Tatour, drop all charges against her and to allow her the safe exercise of her right to freedom of expression.

Tatour’s case highlights Israel’s repressive stance towards freedom of expression in Palestine and the human rights violations that come with it. Many human rights organisations have repeatedly stated that the arrest and prosecution of activists solely for peaceful expression is a violation of international human rights law, and has a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

Tatour’s case also underlines the importance of free speech for poets in especially, and literature in general. As such, we reiterate our call to the Israeli authorities to uphold international law and guarantee freedom of expression for creatives in Palestine.