Palestinian ‘Partisans’ – Italy Arrests Activists, Accuses them of ‘Terrorism’

Palestinian activist Anan Yaeesh. (Photo: via social media)

By Dalia Ismail

Three Palestinian citizens have been arrested in the Italian city of L’Aquila, in central Italy, and are now facing accusations of terrorism.

On March 11, two Palestinian citizens, Ali Saji Ribhi Irar and Mansour Doghmosh, were arrested in the Italian city of L’Aquila, Italian media reported on Monday.

The arrests came one day before a hearing at the L’Aquila court regarding the extradition of Anan Yaeesh, another Palestinian citizen, who was also arrested in the same city last January. 

Anan Yaeesh’s Case

On January 29, Yaeesh, from the Palestinian city of Tulkarem, in the Occupied West Bank, was arrested on ‘terrorism’ charges, following a request by Israeli authorities to extradite him, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. 

Weeks following his arrest, on March 11, Yaeesh, along with the two other newly-detained Palestinians, are now being charged with terrorism,  accused of being part of a cell that was allegedly planning to attack Israeli military and civilian targets.

“Just 24 hours before the decision on his extradition to Israel, Anan Yaeesh finds himself embroiled in a terrorism investigation by the L’Aquila DDA (Italian District Anti-Mafia Directorate) built through elements provided by Tel Aviv investigators,” the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto reported on Tuesday, adding that he “was joined by two other Palestinians: Ali Saji Rabhi Irar and Mansour Doghmosh”.

A Palestinian Partisan

Yaeesh arrived in Italy in 2017, where he obtained a regular residence permit for special protection after two years, according to his lawyer, Flavio Rossi Albertini.

Albertini also explained that during the Second Palestinian Intifada, or Uprising, in 2006, Yaeesh, who was just a teenager, served a four-year sentence in Israeli prisons as a political detainee. 

Moreover, he was detained by Jordanian authorities during a visit to the country in 2023, and allegedly threatened to be extradited to Israel. After several months in Jordanian detention, Yaeesh was released and managed to return to Italy last November.

The specific allegations against Yaeesh remain unclear. However, his lawyer has pointed out that both international and Italian criminal laws include provisions to prevent the extradition of individuals to countries where torture is practiced or where the rights of detainees are not upheld—a circumstance which has always been pertinent to Israel.

In a press conference on February 16, Rossi Albertini further explained that Yaeesh was wounded by Israeli occupation forces in 2006, while taking  part in defending  his refugee camp of Tulkarm. The Italian lawyer likened Yaeesh’s actions during the Intifada to those of Italian partisan fighters who fought the Nazis and the Fascists during World War II. 

On February 27, Yaeesh’s defense team submitted a request to the Court of Appeal of L’Aquila to revoke the “precautionary measure” in order to prevent the risk of subjecting the detained Palestinian to inhumane treatment.

The international human rights group Amnesty International also advocated for Yaeesh’s case. In a letter sent to Italian Justice Minister Carlo Nordio on Monday, the rights group said: 

“Amnesty International believes that due to the systematic nature of torture and other ill-treatment of Palestinians convicted or awaiting trial in Israeli prisons, Anan Yaeesh would risk being tortured or subjected to other ill-treatment if extradited.”

New Arrests

The other two Palestinians, Irar and Doghmosh,  arrested on March 11, were accused by the district judge of L’Aquila of collaborating with the “Tulkarem Brigades Rapid Response Group”, which are part of the “Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades”, the military wing of the Palestinian movement Fatah.

The Brigades are classified as a ‘terrorist organization’ by the European Union (EU).

They “manifested terrorist goals aimed at organizing suicide attacks, including through the use of car bombs, in Israeli-Palestinian territory, in particular in the West Bank, in the city of Tulkarem, to the detriment of Israeli civilian and military targets”, wrote the investigating judge, as reported in Il Manifesto newspaper.

According to allegations made by the judge in L’Aquila, Yaeesh played a central and organizational role within this group, as allegedly indicated in some of his Telegram chats. The  judge’s order reportedly highlighted Yaeesh’s connections with Mounir al-Maqdah, who is believed to be a leader of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and holds a high rank within the Fatah movement.

The judge also claimed that Yaeesh and his associates meticulously planned propaganda material.

This included creating videos portraying armed Palestinian fighters conducting military training exercises and demonstrating the use of weapons, which is widely circulated material on social media. 

Pro-Palestinian activists gathered in several Italian cities to protest against the possibility of Yaeehs’s extradition. They fear that such action carried by the Italian government on behalf of the state of Israel could set a precedent to be followed not only by Italy but other members of the EU as well.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Dalia Ismail is a Palestinian Italian student. She has a BA in political science and international relations and is currently working on her master’s degree. She is a long-time activist for Palestine. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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  1. Italy would be wise to concentrate its efforts on arresting its own but then its returning to its love of fascism

  2. Resistance within the occupied territories is allowed under international law and any “evidence” supplied by the Israelis is suspect at best and has been extracted through torture at worst

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