NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) says an American citizen is undergoing torture in a Palestinian prison. The Assemblyman met today with the family of Issam Akel, a 53-year-old Arab-American resident of Jerusalem and U.S. citizen. Akel was imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority after it was alleged that he sold property to Jews.
In a long meeting in Jerusalem this afternoon with Akel’s wife Maram, Hikind learned how Issam has been tortured in a PA prison for two months. “It was heartbreaking to see this gentle family, see up close the pain that they are experiencing by having their family torn apart,” said Hikind. “There are two young daughters, Natalie age 7, and Sila age 3. ‘I just want my husband back,” Maram cried to me. ‘My children just want their father back.”
Issam lived in America for 12 years. His four siblings and their families continue to reside in the U.S. “This is a proud Arab-American family,” said Hikind.
While the United States has officially demanded the immediate release of its citizen, Hikind is calling upon the UN and human rights groups to also demand the release.
“This is not Hamas, the recognized terror organization, that has directed this act against an Arab American,” said Hikind. “This is the Palestinian Authority—the so-called moderates—the official government of the Palestinians who have perpetrated this crime against a U.S. citizen.
“Imagine the outcry if Israel jailed a Jew for allegedly selling land to an Arab. Would human rights groups stand silent if this man was persecuted for selling land to a Black family or an Asian family? I’m calling on those who care about human rights—those groups who advocate for everyone else—to speak out about this heinous violation of human rights against an Arab-American who committed no crime!”
Hikind praised American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and the Trump administration who condemned the PA for Akel’s kidnapping. He also thanked Yifa Segal, Director of the International Legal Forum in Jerusalem, who he said he will be working with to free Akel. “All of us must unite to free this innocent man,” said Hikind.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)