Israel Blocks Palestinian Amnesty International Employee From Leaving West Bank

Shin Bet say Laith Abu Zeyad was denied passage into Jordan because of security considerations ■ Amnesty claim worker punished for promoting Palestinians' rights

Palestinian Amnesty International employee Laith Abu Zeyad
Amnesty International

Israel's Shin Bet security service is stopping a Palestinian employee of human rights organization Amnesty International from leaving the West Bank.

Laith Abu Zeyad, who works as a campaigner for the human rights NGO, has been denied exit from the West Bank through the Allenby Crossing – which is the only way for Palestinians to leave the West Bank in order to travel abroad.

Abu Zeyad had learned that he was denied exit when he tried to pass through the crossing on October 26 in order to attend his aunt's funeral in Jordan. Kumi Naidoo, the organization's secretary general, called the Israeli move "a punishment for Zeyad's work to protect the human rights of Palestinians."

The Shin Bet say that the activist was denied passage through the crossing due to "serious security considerations," and stated that their decision had nothing to do with Zeyad's employment with Amnesty. "Any attempt to claim otherwise is completely unfounded," the agency said.

Abu Zeyad was arrested in the past by the Palestinian Authority when he documented a protest against sanctions that the PA had imposed on the Gaza Strip. According to Amnesty, he was beat up during the arrest.