Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour set free

Dareen Tatour, who was arrested and jailed for poems she published on social media, is released from prison. Tatour: ‘It will be impossible to stop my writing.’

By Oren Ziv

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was released from prison on September 20, 2018. She was arrested in October 2015, and later convicted of incitement to terrorism and violence for poems she published on social media. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was released from prison on September 20, 2018. She was arrested in October 2015, and later convicted of incitement to terrorism and violence for poems she published on social media. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was released today after serving 42 days in prison. Her five-month sentence was reduced by 97 days, the same amount of time she spent in jail following her arrest in October 2015, before being transferred to house arrest for nearly three years.

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“I am very happy to be free, finally, after three years. These were three years of suffering, but I am free now,” said Tatour upon her release.

Tatour, who hails from the village of Reineh near Nazareth, was convicted of incitement to terrorism and violence over a poem she published on her personal Facebook page, titled “Qawem Ya Sha’abi, Qawemhum” (“Resist my people, resist them”), as well as two other social media posts. The poet has become a symbol of the rise of state surveillance of social media.

Tatour was released one day earlier than expected, which came as a surprise to the family and friends who arrived to greet her upon her release. Her father, Tawfik Tatour, who had only seen his daughter once since she was detained in early August, said he did not expect to get a call the night before, informing him of the early release. “It is a joy, I am extremely excited,” he said. A celebration of Tatour’s release will take place on Friday, and her father invites the public to join.

Family and friends greet Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour upon her release from prison on September 20, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Family and friends greet Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour upon her release from prison on September 20, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Throughout her trial, the state summoned a string of experts on poetry and the Arabic language to analyze the words of a young poet who was mostly anonymous until her arrest.

Tatour promised to keep writing. “I regret being sent to prison for a poem, but it will be impossible to stop my writing,” she said.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.