Omar Nayef Zayed, Palestinian former prisoner and community leader, is being threatened with extradition from Bulgaria and return to Israeli prisons. After 22 years living in Bulgaria, raising three children with his wife, the Israeli state has requested that Bulgaria extradite Omar – who was sentenced to a life sentence in Israeli military courts in 1986, escaping from custody in 1990 after a 40-day hunger strike, and arrived in Bulgaria in 1994. Join us on 8-15 January 2016 for a global week of action for justice for Omar Nayef Zayed!
Israel has requested Omar’s arrest and extradition from the Bulgarian government under the European Convention on Extradition, to which both states are parties. However, the Convention explicitly excludes “political offenses” from such extradition proceedings – and Omar’s case, tried in Israeli military courts which convict 99.74% of Palestinians, is, like that of all other Palestinian prisoners, a political matter of the struggle for freedom of the Palestinian people, not a “criminal offense.” Indeed, Palestinian prisoners jailed at the same time as Omar have nearly all been freed – not due to their sentences ending, but due to a series of political agreements and exchanges between the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Israeli state – further underlining the political nature of the imprisonment of Palestinians. Sinn Fein parliamentarians from Ireland have urged Bulgaria to reject the extradition request on this basis.
Despite a raid on his home, Omar has taken refuge in the Palestinian embassy in Sofia. He is demanding to stay with his wife and family in Bulgaria, and calling on the Bulgarian government to reject the extradition request. “I must carry on this struggle, on behalf of all Palestinian prisoners, not just myself. It is my responsibility,” Omar said. Indeed, his case has significant repercussions for Palestinians in Europe generally, especially former prisoners and veterans of the struggle.
Please take action to help demand justice for Omar Nayef Zayed! The Global Week of Action for Justice for Omar Nayef Zayed will kick off on Friday, 8 January with a protest in London at the Bulgarian Embassy, calling on Bulgaria to reject the extradition request and protect the rights of Omar Nayef Zayed and his family.
Join in the Week of Action! What You and Your Group Can Do:
1. CALL IN TO THE BULGARIAN EMBASSY IN YOUR COUNTRY.
Key Phone Numbers:
Washington, DC: +1 (202)387-0174;
London: +44 20 7581 3144
Ottawa: +1 613 789 3215
EU Mission in Brussels: +32 2 2358300
Other Bulgarian embassy numbers available here: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/bulgaria
Make the following points:
- You are calling about the case of Omar Nayef Zayed, a Palestinian in Bulgaria facing extradition to Israel.
- Bulgaria should not extradite Omar Nayef Zayed to Israel and should stop all efforts and cancel all warrants for his arrest, imprisonment or extradition
- Omar was a former Palestinian political prisoner. Omar’s case is a political matter that is excluded from the European Convention on Extradition.
- Omar’s wife and children have the right to life with their husband and father. Bulgaria should not be ripping apart a family to send their father to be a political prisoner again.
2. ORGANIZE A LETTER DELIVERY TO THE BULGARIAN EMBASSY OR CONSULATE IN YOUR COUNTRY OR CITY.
Go with other members of your Palestine solidarity group, prisoner justice advocates, or concerned residents of your area to the Bulgarian embassy as a delegation to deliver a letter calling on Bulgaria not to extradite Omar Nayef Zayed.
- You can ask for a meeting, but you don’t have to: the important thing is to have a visible group to hand-deliver your letter.
- A draft letter is provided here. Please feel free to modify, or write your own letter. You can ask for signatures from other individuals or groups in your area who are concerned about Palestine, unjust imprisonment or social justice issues more broadly. You can also read the letter sent by the Palestine Subcommittee of the US National Lawyers Guild by clicking here.
- Personal delivery of such a letter does make an impact! Please also take pictures of your letter delivery and send them to .
- A list of Bulgarian embassies and consulates is available here: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/bulgaria
- Download the draft letter: http://samidoun.net/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Bulgaria_Letter.doc
3. PROTEST OUTSIDE THE BULGARIAN EMBASSY OR CONSULATE IN YOUR COUNTRY OR CITY
Inminds in London is organizing a protest outside the Bulgarian embassy in the UK on Friday, 8 January – kicking off the week of action. Events like these in cities with Bulgarian consulates are very important.
- You can do this with a small group or a large group – even a small picket will be noticed. Please take pictures and send them to !
- You can also combine this with a letter delivery – send in a delegation to deliver your official letter before or after your picket/protest.
- The more events like this around the world at various embassies and consulates, the more the Bulgarian government will realize that Omar’s case has international significance and support and must be taken seriously.
4. CONTINUE TO SEND EMAILS AND LETTERS AND SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Hundreds of you have already emailed the Bulgarian government urging them to reject the extradition of Omar Nayef Zayed. Thank you, and please continue to do so here: http://samidoun.net/2015/12/urgent-action-stop-extradition-of-omar-nayef-zayed-former-palestinian-prisoner-from-bulgaria/
The events above are very important – visible contact, physical letters and audible phone calls make an even stronger impact. But all of your emails are also critically important to make it clear that Omar has support and friends around the world who want to see him free and safe with his family.
Share the Justice for Omar Nayef Zayed facebook pages (English) and (Arabic) and this alert – spread the word to your colleagues and comrades. The more voices that are heard, the louder Omar’s call for justice becomes.
Please email us at with information about your actions, events, protests and letter delivery delegations, or with any questions or requests for materials.