GAA KA CITY CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – After months of torture and interrogation in Hamas prison, Palestinian activist Rami Aman says he has been offered an unusual offer to divorce your wife, “you will go free.”
Aman recently signed a marriage contract with the daughter of a Hamas official, and the ruling Islamic militant group apparently wanted to dispel any speculation that it was supporting the spread of Aman to Israeli peace activists. He says he eventually came under pressure. Now he says that the love of his life has flowed out of Gaza against his will, “he may never see him again.”
“I realized I was sent there to take time to break up,” Aman said in an interview on the roof of his house in Gaza.
It was the latest humiliation of the saga, which he said began with an innocent online meeting with Israeli peace activists. Instead, the episode landed her in the infamous prison cell known as the “Bus”, which eventually ruined her marriage. His experience shows the harsh restrictions on freedom of expression in the Hamas-controlled area, as well as the hostility of the militants to any talk of coexistence with Israel.
“The Hami authorities’ deplorable treatment of Rami Aman reflects their systematic practice of punishing those who speak out against their orthodoxy,” said Omar Shakir, Israel-Palestine director at Human Rights Watch.
Aman did not think he was committing a sabotage operation when he joined the call for that fateful enlargement last April. Amid widespread closure at the start of the coronavirus epidemic, Aman wanted to discuss a “double blockade” of Gaza, which lasted 14 years under a severe Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Hamas.
“I wanted to tell more people how it is when you live in an Israeli occupation, under siege, deprived of the rights that the rest of the world enjoys,” said Aman, a 39-year-old freelance writer.
For more than two hours, Aman and his group of peace activists, the Gaza Youth Committee, talked about coexistence with dozens of Israelis.
Following the news of the meeting, social media was filled with angry comments, calling him a traitor. Some have urged Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, to act.
Aman said that on April 9, he and seven members of his group were summoned to Internal Security, an agency that deals with dissidents accused of spying for Israel.
He said he was blindfolded and rushed to a “bus”, a room lined with kindergarten chairs and a pair of toilets. According to him, those arrested there have to sit in small chairs for several days or weeks, with breaks.
“They did not present any evidence against me,” Aman said. He said he would sit in a chair from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., except when he was being questioned or prayed for. He was allowed to remove his blindfold only when entering the bathroom. His captors called him his prison number 6299.
The questions focused on the “Zoom in” meeting: “Who could be behind it?” Aman was accused of collaborating with Israel, a crime punishable by death.
The Gaza Youth Committee has held dozens of talks with Israelis, Americans and Europeans as part of an initiative called Skype with Your Enemy. In 2019, it organized an event in Gaza վար in Israel running parallel to the opposite side of the barbed wire fence.
He said that at 1 o’clock in the morning, “bus drivers” were allowed to tie up next to the seats. They wrapped themselves in their jackets and lay on the cold floor before waking them up a few hours later for a Muslim morning prayer. In a 2018 report, Human Rights Watch documented similar accounts.
The interrogation ended a week later, but Aman said he spent alarming days on the bus before being taken to a small cell.
Then the interrogation took a strange new turn.
Just two months ago, Aman signed a marriage contract with the daughter of an exiled Hamas official in Egypt. Due to the blockage of the coronavirus, the couple did not have time to celebrate their wedding in a formal ceremony, but according to Islamic law, they were considered married.
Aman said that she met her in 2018, after divorcing her first husband. He said he believed in the message of peace and joined his team in several discussions with the Israelis. He asked not to be named for fear of harming himself.
Ins hint that one of the members of Hamas was friendly towards Israel is deeply shameful for the group. In a far more serious case, the son of one of Hamas’ co-founders, Mossab Youssef, spied on Israel from 1997 to 2007. He now lives in the United States, he is a sharp critic of Hamas. documentary.
Aman said his new wife was arrested with him, but they quickly broke up.
“He doesn’t want you,” an officer told him. “It’s better that you both split up.”
He said he had resisted the pressure of separation for two months. On June 28, he finally visited, saying he had been released on bail.
“This was not my acquaintance,” she said. “He was full of weakness and fear.” The officers sat in the room.
He asked her if she wanted to end the relationship, and she said yes. “I know he did not say it from the heart, it was clear he was under a lot of pressure,” Aman said. She refused to divorce.
He was transferred to Hamas Central Prison in July, although he had not yet been convicted of any crime. There were no further interrogations or torture.
On August 12, an Islamic judge visited him and asked if he had been forced to divorce. Aman said yes, he felt encouraged because Islamic law does not allow anyone to be divorced. But then the imam turned against him.
“How do they force you?” Do you see that I have a weapon? ” says he was told.
He said he finally gave in and signed the divorce papers after promising to be released the next day.
However, he remained in captivity for two months. On October 25, Egypt opened its border with Gaza to allow a Hamas delegation to travel to Cairo.
The next day, a Hamas court convicted Aman and two members of his team of vague accusations of “weakening the revolutionary spirit.” They were sentenced to one year in prison, but their remaining terms were suspended and they were released.
Only then did Aman learn that his wife had been taken to Egypt by a Hamas delegation to be handed over to relatives living there.
The Associated Press contacted the woman, who confirmed that she had been forced to divorce and wanted to return her husband.
The owner of the apartment in Gaza, where the woman lived, confirmed that he had collected the items after being released on bail, accompanied by a Hamas official. She was then transferred to a women’s shelter before moving to Egypt. A prominent Hamas official, a prominent public figure, did not respond to calls for comment.
Aman spends his days talking to his lawyer, human rights groups, and sending messages to Hamas officials. Internal security is still maintained by his laptop, desktop computer, and his phone, along with several other family-owned devices.
He learned that he was now barred from leaving Gaza. After receiving an invitation to speak at New York University in December, he said Hamas officers had blocked his entry to Israel to obtain a visa at the US consulate.
Interior Ministry spokesman Eyad Bozum confirmed the travel ban, but said the issue was “on the way out” without elaborating.
For now, Aman has put aside his political activism. “Now I have my personal battle. I will return to my wife. “