Defend International had raised its concern about the death sentences on the two Kurdish journalists, Hassanpour and Butimar and lobbied the EU for their support. We are grateful that the EU has stepped forward to support them.
About 6,000 Palestinians were stranded in dusty Egyptian towns not able to return to Gaza after the main border crossings were shut down. Defend International called on the concerned parties to agree on how to allow the civilians return back to their homes. DI is glad to hear that an agreement has been reached and it commends its members tireless work for and dedication to justice and peace.
Thousands of civilians were unable to return to their homes in Gaza strip. Defend International urged the Israeli, Palestinian and the Egyptian authorities, as well as Hamas leadership in Gaza to do whatever it took to spare civilian lives. In July 2007, an agreement was reached and soon Rafah crossing was re-opened.
Mr. Mahmoud Salehi was detained on 9 April 2007. Mr. Salehi has only one kidney, suffers from kidney stones, and requires chronic dialysis treatment. DI urged the authorities to release him immediately, noting that he was arrested solely for his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association. In 2008, he was released on bail.
Ms. Jihan Omar was detained on 17 June 2007. She suffers from health problems and was arrested at her doctor’s clinic in downtown Afrin. DI launched a campaign for her and in January 2008, she was released.