- 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, AP reported.
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Aman told the news agency that after months of pressure from Hamas officials, he eventually gave in to pressure and went ahead with the separation.
The demand that he divorce her is thought to be a move by the militant group to distant itself from Aman’s decision to engage in discourse with Israeli peace activists last year, AP reported.
His ex-wife is the daughter of a senior-ranking Hamas official, 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.
Aman was imprisoned following a backlash against him for helping set up a two-hour-long Zoom chat between Israelis and Palestinian peacemakers, Insider’s Anthony L. Fisher reported in April 2020.
Following a campaign on Facebook by a Palestinian journalist to shame those who attended and the subsequent social media outrage online, Aman was charged with the crime of “normalization” with Israel.
His former wife was also arrested, the Associated Press reported.
After Aman’s arrest on April 9, 2020, he said that he was interrogated and tortured. He claims he was blindfolded, taken to a prison cell, and was forced to sit in a tiny child’s chair for days or weeks on end, according to AP.
He was referred to by his prison number, only allowed to remove his blindfold for bathroom breaks, and could only leave his seat to be interrogated or pray, AP reported.
During his imprisonment, a police officer reportedly told him that it would be “better” if he proceeded with a divorce. He resisted the request for months, AP said.
In August, an Islamic judge asked him whether he felt coerced into separation. Aman said yes but the judge, the activist told AP, refuted this. “How are you being forced? Do you see me carrying a gun?” he says the legal official told him.
Aman, 39, eventually signed divorce documents, expecting to be released, but remained imprisoned for two more months.
“The deplorable treatment of Rami Aman by 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 into the divorce and wants to reunite with Aman.
Aman is now banned from leaving Gaza and security officials are still holding onto 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 his priority is to be reunited with his lover.
“Now I have my personal battle: return to my wife,” the activist told the news agency.