[Pnews] Muhammad Salah, Palestinian community leader, former prisoner in US and Israeli jails transitions

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Apr 25 10:08:03 EDT 2016


  Samidoun mourns Muhammad Salah, Palestinian community leader, former
  prisoner in US and Israeli jails

April 24, 2016

*Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its 
condolences to the Salah family and the broader Palestinian community of 
Chicago and the United States on the passing of Muhammad Salah 
<http://www.palestine-studies.org/jps/fulltext/42042>, prominent 
Palestinian activist and community leader in the Chicago area, former 
political prisoner in Israeli jails, survivor of Israeli torture, and 
subject of extensive U.S. state repression. We express our deepest 
condolences to Muhammad’s wife Maryam, his children, family, loved ones, 
and entire community.*

Muhammad Salah’s victory in court in 2006 – and his second victory six 
years later, with his removal from the ‘Specially Designated Terrorist’ 
list – was, as the US Palestinian Community Network <http://uspcn.org> 
Chicago writes, “a prominent court victory for our community in the 
period of the ‘War on Terrorism’ and the consistent political and legal 
attacks on Palestinian rights and our struggle for national liberation.”

For over twenty years, Salah faced joint persecution at the hands of the 
Israeli occupation and the U.S. government. A grocer in Chicago, he 
traveled to deliver humanitarian and financial aid to Palestinians in 
Gaza in 1993 and was seized as he entered; this was before the so-called 
“material support laws, 
the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and the later 
revisions to follow in the Patriot Act and elsewhere, existed. However, 
the Israeli state’s policy of mass arrests of Palestinians and the 
criminalization of Palestinian political, social and national 
institutions was of course in full force, as it had been for decades; 
and Salah’s case played a significant role in the development of 
U.S/Israeli strategies of repression of the Palestinian-American 
community and its strong, active role in the Palestinian national 
liberation movement.

Salah was beaten and blindfolded before undergoing “extensive 
interrogation” at the hands of the Israeli Shin Bet. Michael Deutsch and 
Erica Thompson, Salah’s lawyers, noted in their extensive article on the 
case (Part 1 <http://www.palestine-studies.org/jps/fulltext/42042>, Part 
the various forms of physical and psychological torture inflicted on 
Salah by the Shin Bet and collaborators during a five-week interrogation 
period, after which he signed on to a forced confession.  The Israeli 
state – with U.S. official and media complicity – launched a propaganda 
blitz not only labeling Salah an activist with Hamas, but a “military 
leader” heading a massive “U.S. leadership network” for Hamas.  An 
Israeli military court sentenced him to five years in prison – a harsh, 
unjust penalty, yet also highly incongruent with the dramatic claims of 
Israeli officials and media.

The targeting of Muhammad Salah was always intended as a mechanism not 
only to target this one Palestinian, but the entire Palestinian 
community in the United States. As Salah’s lawyers wrote 
“The goal had been…to get a confession that would…start a movement to 
cut off U.S. funding and support for the Palestinian cause, and provide 
a road map for pro-Israel forces in the United States to target 
supporters of Palestine.”

On the basis of the confession produced under torture by the Shin Bet, 
Salah was designated a “Specially Designated Terrorist 
– requiring a special license to earn or spend money and special 
approval to work, hire a doctor or lawyer, or conduct financial 
transactions. He was so designated by the U.S. government while 
imprisoned in an Israeli jail, despite his U.S. citizenship, and the 
designation met him – along with FBI agents and undercover informants 
-when he returned to the U.S. in 1997 after his release from Israeli 
prison. Salah lived through years of informants, wiretapping, 
omnipresent surveillance, and false allegations, until he was acquitted 
in 2007 of charges brought against him in 2004 of “racketeering,” 
alongside co-defendant Abdelhaleem Ashqar 
Earlier attempts to charge him with “material support” for terrorism had 

Salah was convicted of one charge of obstruction and sentenced to 
twenty-one months in prison, a sentence he served. When released, once 
again he lived under “internal banishment.” He could not get a job, 
participate in political activities, donate to charity, or even buy a 
book or newspaper. in 2012, he filed a lawsuit 
against the U.S. Department of the Treasury. “In response to the 
lawsuit, and without attempting to defend its designation of Mr. Salah, 
the Department of Treasury unilaterally removed Mr. Salah from the 
Special Designated Terror list. After 17 years of oppressive 
restrictions on his ability to undertake basic life activities, Mr. 
Salah and his family are freed from the burdens placed upon him by the 
U.S. Government. The decision represents a total victory for Mr. Salah,” 
noted the Center for Constitutional Rights 

Muhammad Salah struggled throughout his life: for justice, freedom and 
dignity for the Palestinian people, in Palestine, in the United States, 
and everywhere in exile and diaspora. He confronted the same oppressive 
forces that today threaten and persecute Rasmea Odeh 
<http://justice4rasmea.org> and imprison the Holy Land Five 
<http://freedomtogive.com> – and the same oppressive forces who brought 
the full force of the U.S. repressive machinery to bear against the 
Black Liberation Movement, against the American Indian Movement, against 
Puerto Rican independentistas. He was faced with the full force of the 
U.S./Israel imperialist-Zionist nexus of power and all forms of state 
repression: imprisonment, “internal banishment,” terror designation, 
torture – and continued to struggle and to seek freedom.

*We mourn the loss of Muhammad Salah, a victim and survivor of injustice 
who continued to fight for justice and confront oppression throughout 
his life, and extend our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones, 
and community – and we pledge to carry on the struggle, to seek freedom 
and justice for all political prisoners in U.S. prisons – from Mumia 
Abu-Jamal, Oscar Lopez Rivera and Leonard Peltier to Abdelhaleem Ashqar, 
Rasmea Odeh, and the Holy Land Five – Israeli prisons, and international 
prisons; to confront the so-called “anti-terror” law that terrorize 
oppressed communities and target liberation movements; and to struggle 
for justice and liberation for Palestine and the Palestinian people.*

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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