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At approximately 03:15 am this morning the Israeli army entered the home of Nabil Al-Raee, Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre, and took him to an unknown location. Nabil's wife, Micaela Miranda explains what happened: "The dog started barking so I went outside and saw soldiers jumping over the gate and come into the yard of the house. They asked for my husband and I asked what for, that it's my right to know and it's my house. The soldiers replied that they were not going to tell me. They then took Nabil, brought him to an army jeep and drove off. We are very worried because we don't know where they took him and why." Jonatan Stanczak, Managing Director of The Freedom Theatre: "I live on the floor above Nabil and when I heard what was happening I tried to go down to talk to the soldiers because I speak Hebrew. The house was surrounded by masked Israeli soldiers and three of them immediately pointed their weapons at me and pushed me back into the house." Attempts were immediately made to contact the District Coordination Office of the Israeli army but to no avail. More than half the employees of The Freedom Theatre were recently called to interrogations by the Israeli army, including Nabil Al-Raee. All came to the appointments as scheduled and answered to their best of their knowledge the given questions even though they were intimidated and even threatened. Jonatan Stanczak continues: "I don't understand why they do this after they know they could simply have made a phone call to Nabil and he would have come to answer any questions or concerns that they might have. Since this has happened so many times in the past, I can't interpret it as anything else than an ongoing harassment of the employees of The Freedom Theatre and their families by the Israeli army." At this point it is unclear if any other members of The Freedom Theatre have been taken during the night. Several of them have not responded to phone calls. Zakaria Zubeidi, co-founder and avid supporter of The Freedom Theatre, was arrested by Palestinian security forces on the 13th of May and taken to Jericho prison. Since then Zakaria has not been allowed to meet his lawyer Farid Hawash or have any contact with his family, that is in his basic rights. Having grown up amidst a violent military occupation, the young generation in the Jenin area struggle with ongoing fears, depression and trauma. At the same time, few opportunities exist for these youngsters to find positive and creative outlets for their emotions which can allow them to develop a healthy and meaningful sense of themselves and their surroundings. The Freedom Theatre therefore offers children, youth and young adults in the Jenin area a safe space in which they are free to express themselves, to explore their creativity and emotions through culture and arts. It provides them with opportunities to develop the skills, self-knowledge and confidence which can empower them to challenge present realities and to speak out in their own society and beyond. No one has been able to determine what the charges against Al Raee and Zubeidi might be. Failing government explanation, it is hard to avoid concluding that the harassment has nothing to do with any criminal activity but everything to do with their artistic mission. According to the theatre, “This last abduction of Nabil Al Raee has led us to the conviction that the regular and systematized harassment of the employees of The Freedom Theatre has nothing to do with the investigation of the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis but that it is clearly a campaign directed at the Freedom Theatre itself.” Al Raee is apparently being held at the Jalameh detention center inside Israel. “The interrogations at Jalameh and other military detention centres commonly involve inhuman treatment; sleep deprivation, psychological pressure and binding in painful positions,” the theatre says. A simple, decent respect for human rights clearly demands that either Al Raee and zubeidi be released, if there are no justifiable charges to be filed against him, or at least that his lawyer be allowed to meet with him to determine his safety and to prepare a defense,and that they can have contact with their family. The theatre urges “all supporters of The Freedom Theatre specifically and protectors of art and culture in general, and every person that believe in freedom, culture and human rights PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION AND SPREAD ALL OVER THE WORLD.THANKS

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