Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street
Dear Prime Minister:
The Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association is concerned about news of the detention of Birzeit University student, Abed Qatta, one of the two key organizers (the other being Muhammed Ata) of the Palestine International Festival who were arrested by Israeli military authorities on August 23, 1994. We understand that this is not the first such instance of student detention by the military. Our preliminary information about the current case is sufficiently disturbing that we wish promptly to register our concern.
The Middle East Studies Association comprises 2300 academics worldwide who teach and conduct research on the Middle East and North Africa. The association publishes the respected International Journal of Middle East Studies and is committed to ensuring respect for the principles of academic freedom and human rights throughout the region.
We respectfully request you to provide us with information as soon as possible about the reasons for the detention of this student and the nature of the criminal charges -- if any -- being brought against him. We further call upon you to investigate to ensure that this is not a case of a student being detained solely by reason of his political opinions and cultural activities. In the event that this is so, we call for Mr. Qattawi's (and Mr. Ata's) immediate release.
Anne H. Betteridge
Brigadier General llan Shiff, Judge Advocate General
Brigadier General Shaul Mofaz, Commander of the West Bank
Colonel Moshe Rosenberg, Legal Adviser for the Central Command
Judge Yosef Harish, Attorney General
Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich
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