We, the undersigned, call for the immediate release of Palestinian artist and musician Sama Abdulhadi, who was illegally detained by the Palestinian Authority on the 27th of December 2020. On Tuesday 29 December a judge decided to extend her detention for 15 additional days because “techno music is not part of Palestinian heritage!”
The arrest of Sama occurred after the attack on a private recording for a streamed performance the Nabi Mousa in Jericho by a group of young people, who stopped the event and threatened the attendees. This attack was followed by a vicious campaign of misinformation on social media which fueled violent reactions and personal attacks against Sama’.
The site, Maqam Nabi Musa, is under the custody of the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism who gave written approval to organize and film the concert in the Bazaar site (not in the mosque which is part of the site).
The ministry was aware of the type of music that will be played at the concert- techno- and that this concert will be filmed in this archaeological site featuring Sama Abdulhadi, one of the leading Arab women in techno music in the world, to promote Palestinian heritage sites and Palestinian techno music amongst music audiences around the world.
Sama Abdulhadi and the organizers of the concert may not have realized that this type of music was unsuitable for the site and its historical, religious and cultural associations, yet it remains that the Ministry of Tourism bears full responsibility for taking the decision to allow the concert to take place.
Sama Abdulhadi is being made a scapegoat and held accountable for a crime that did not happen and one that she certainly did not commit.
Even though the Palestinian Authority has announced that it established a committee to investigate the events following public uproar, until this moment, we have received only silence from officials, in addition to the illegal arrest of an artist without any disclosure of the details of the investigation. The PA’s detention of Sama Abdulhadi to “tame” public anger is an official evasion of responsibility, hiding behind Sama instead of confronting the legal crisis and accepting responsibility.
We call for her immediate release and respect for cultural and artistic freedom and rights by the Palestinian Authority.