Israeli forces raid Madaa during children’s classes, director Jawad Siyam arrested
January 4, 2011

Israeli police raided Madaa Community Center this afternoon and arrested Jawad Siyam, director of the Center. A force of uniformed and plainclothes police stormed the Center at 2pm today, seizing Siyam amidst several children's classes run by the Center each afternoon and instigating fear and panic. Officers shouted aggressively at Siyam to comply in front of the young students, including Siyam's 7 year old child. Police cited a complaint of physical attack by a Palestinian as reason for arrest, yet it is immediately clear that this is a gross fabrication. Siyam has currently been under interrogation for 4 hours at Jerusalem police headquarters and has only been questioned about his political activity and community work. Siyam will be detained overnight and is to appear in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court at 8am tomorrow where police will request an extention on his detention period. Siyam's lawyer will submit an urgent appeal to the court calling for his release on the grounds that reasons cited for his arrest are false and potentially illegal.   Siyam's extensive activism and community work in Silwan and co-founding of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center has branded him a threat by the Israeli government to its goals in Wadi Hilweh, an epicenter of settlement activity in Silwan. Siyam has been under police investigation several times before for his community activism.