- Rami Aman was arrested for setting up a Zoom call between Israeli and Palestinian peace activists.
- He received pressure from Hamas officials to divorce his wife, the daughter of a high-ranking official.
- Aman eventually signed the divorce papers, but remained in jail for two more months, the AP reported.
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Palestinian activist Rami Aman has said that the militant group Hamas forced him to divorce his then-wife to secure his release from a Gaza prison, according to the Associated Press.
Aman told the news agency that after months of pressure from Hamas officials, he finally gave in to the pressure and went ahead with the separation.
The demand that he divorce her is believed to be a move by the militant group to walk away from Aman’s decision to engage in a speech with Israeli peace activists last year, AP reported.
His ex-wife is the daughter of a senior Hamas official, the AP said.
She has since been deported from Gaza, against her will, and Aman told the news agency that he may never see her again.
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Aman was jailed after a backlash against him for helping to establish a
talk between Israelis and Palestinian peacekeepers, Insider’s Anthony L. Fisher reported in April 2020.
She was one of more than 200 people from both sides of the Israel-Gaza divide who participated in the Zoom chat in English started by Aman’s organization – the Gaza Youth Committee.
Following a Facebook campaign by a Palestinian journalist to shame attendees and subsequent outrage from online social media, Aman was charged with the crime of “normalization” with Israel.
His ex-wife was also arrested, the Associated Press reported.
After Aman’s arrest on April 9, 2020, he said he was interrogated and tortured. He claims he was blindfolded, taken to a prison cell and forced to sit in a small child’s chair for days or weeks, according to AP.
He was mentioned by his prison number, was only allowed to remove his blindfold to go to the bathroom and could only leave his seat to be questioned or prayed, the AP reported.
During his incarceration, a police officer reportedly told him that it would be “better” if he proceeded with the divorce. He resisted the request for months, the AP said.
In August, an Islamic judge asked him if he felt compelled to separate. Aman said yes, but the judge, the activist told the AP, denied it. “How are they forcing you? Do you see me carrying a gun?” He says the legal officer told him.
Aman, 39, finally signed divorce papers, waiting to be released, but remained incarcerated for two more months.
“The deplorable treatment of Rami Aman by the Hamas authorities reflects their systematic practice of punishing those whose speech threatens their orthodoxy,” Omar Shakir, Israel-Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, told AP.
His ex-wife, who has been deported to Egypt, confirmed to the Associated Press that she was forced to divorce and wants to meet with Aman.
Aman is now banned from leaving Gaza and security officials are still holding on to his laptop, computer and phone, the news agency said.
He is in frequent communication with human rights organizations, lawyers and Hamas officials, AP reported.
But her priority is to meet her lover again.
“Now I have my personal battle: to get back to my wife,” the activist told the news agency.