We are calling on all our allies in radical struggles the world over to send letters of support to political prisoner Jonathan Pollak, currently serving a three-month prison sentence in Israel (see background below).
Jonathan, longtime activist in anarchist, anti-occupation and animal rights struggles, has been imprisoned since January 11th, after a blatantly political trial stemming from his participation in a protest against the siege on Gaza .
Best known for his prominent role in the "Anarchists Against the Wall" initiative, Jonathan has been serving for the last two years as media coordinator for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, a Palestinian umbrella organization designed to garner media attention for the unarmed struggle in the West Bank .
UPDATE, JAN 16TH, 2011:
Jonathan is incarcerated at Hermon Prison in the Lower Galilee, where he is expected to serve his full sentence, as repentance and "accepting responsibility for one's crime" seem to be a requirement for getting time off for good behavior (though he might still get a 14-days earlier "administrative release"). Through the prison's canteen he is currently able to purchase a wide enough variety of vegan food items to maintain an adequate diet, and so far he has not run into any problems, either from other inmates or from the guards. Generally speaking, he can be said to be in good spirits, and has expressed his wish to hear from fellow activists and radicals.
PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO WRITE HIM A LETTER OF SUPPORT.
Letters can be sent via regular mail to this address:
Hermon Prison , NS Wing
P.O Box 4011
Alternately, you can write him through the following email address (letters will be printed and passed on to him):
Please note that he is only allowed to receive letters, so please don't send books, magazines, stamps, IRCs or any other items.
(for further questions, feel free to contact me, Santiago , at email@example.com)
On January 31, 2008, some thirty protesters participated in a Critical Mass bicycle ride through the streets of Tel Aviv in protest of the siege on Gaza . During the protest, Pollak was arrested by plain-clothed officers who recognized him from previous demonstrations and assumed he was the organizer of the action. In fact, Pollak was accused simply of riding his bicycle in the same manner as the rest of the protesters (no one else was arrested and the protest was allowed to continue with no further incidents or detentions). His conviction by a Tel Aviv Magistrates court judge activated an older three-month suspended sentence, imposed on Pollak in a previous trial for protesting the construction of the Separation Barrier. An additional three months prison term was also imposed for the current conviction, which is being served concurrently.
The arrest and consequent indictment appears to be the result of police vindictiveness, rather than of Pollak's behavior at the time of the event; as stated, Pollak was but one in a group of protesters who behaved exactly like him, yet he was the only one to be singled out. Moreover, environmental Critical Mass events take place in Tel Aviv on a regular basis, but have never been met with such a response. Other protests, which have caused far more severe obstruction of traffic did not result in arrests, and surely did not lead to criminal charges and imprisonment.
On his conviction, Pollak argued for his sentence, saying "I find myself unable to express remorse in this case [...]. If His Honor decides to go ahead and impose my suspended prison sentence, I will go to prison wholeheartedly and with my head held high. It will be the justice system itself, I believe, that ought to lower its eyes in the face of the suffering inflicted on Gaza's inhabitants, just like it lowers its eyes and averts its vision each and every day when faced with the realities of the occupation."
Shameful Imprisonment (editorial in Haaretz, daily Israeli newspaper)
Some Advice on Writing to Prisoners ( Brighton Anarchist Black Cross)