Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network has ties to the Iranian government.
The 22-page report released at the end of March states that there is “overwhelming evidence” to prove this connection, noting that “Samidoun has a chapter and operational base in Iran, that is involved in organizing and supporting their global activities.” Additionally, the organization “has advocated support for the regime of Ayatollah Khamenei and an end to sanctions against the Iranian regime” as well as has been supportive of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both of which are terror groups funded by Iran, per the report. The report also noted that Khaled Barakat, who heads Samidoun, has appeared on Iranian state television calling for “Palestinian armed resistance” and lauding Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy terror group, as a “very strong resistance camp.”
Additionally, Samidoun European representative Mustafa Awad received training from Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2015 and in 2018, he “was arrested and convicted by Israeli authorities for belonging to terrorist organizations, participating in unlawful military exercises and transferring of funds for terrorist purposes,” according to the report. The report also states that Samidoun’s leadership has myriad ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group that prompted the Israeli government to designate Samidoun as a terror organization in 2021; the report describes the PFLP as also being an Iranian proxy.
The report concludes with a call for the European Union to add Samidoun and its leaders to their terror list.
“Today, we have irrefutable evidence as to an axis-of-terror between Samidoun, PFLP and the Iranian regime,” ILF CEO Arsen Ostrovsky said in a statement. “How much longer can the EU, United States and Canada, where Samidoun is even absurdly registered as a ‘not-for-profit’ entity, keep turning their collective backs and allowing Samidoun to operate unabated, while Iran further spreads its tentacles of terror? Enough is enough, the international community must take immediate steps, to designate Samidoun and their senior leaders as terrorists in order to outlaw their destructive activities.”
Founded in 2012, and operating in Europe, North America, as well as Iran, Samidoun claims to be “an international network of organizers and activists working to build solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in their struggle for freedom.”
Most of the prisoners for whom Samidoun advocates are no mere common criminals. They are murderers and convicted terrorists with ties to PFLP, including Ahmad Sa’adat, who in 2001 assassinated Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi in Jerusalem, and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, who is serving a life sentence in France for his role in the 1982 murder of American and Israeli diplomats in Paris.
The PFLP was founded in 1967 as a Marxist-Leninist Arab nationalist group, to oppose by violence the existence of Israel. They first made a name for themselves during the 1960s and 1970s with a series of high-profile airplane hijackings, including in Europe. More recently, in 2014, PFLP terrorists armed with guns and meat cleavers entered a Jerusalem synagogue and murdered five people. In 2019, PFLP terrorists murdered 17-year-old Israeli girl Rina Schnerb by remotely detonating an explosive device.
In 2019, Samidoun leader Barakat was deported from Germany, following a Berlin appellate court finding that he “repeatedly acted as an activist for the PFLP.”
In 2021, Israel formally designated Samidoun as a terrorist organization, specifically citing their links to PFLP and noting that Barakat, “is part of the leadership of PFLP abroad.”
Barakat is not the only senior leader in Samidoun with terror links. Mustapha Awad is Samidoun’s Europe representative. A Lebanese-Belgian national based in Brussels, he too is a member of PFLP, who was convicted in 2019 of receiving training by Hezbollah and wiring money to Barakat from Lebanon and Syria, on the directions of PFLP.
Another is Mohammed Khatib, who currently resides in Brussels and serves as the Europe Coordinator for Samidoun. Like his colleagues, Khatib is also a member of PFLP. On Oct. 29, 2022, Khatib coordinated the “March of Return and Liberation” rally in Brussels, proclaiming outside the European Parliament that “Defeating Israel means defeating the United States and defeating this colonial [EU] institution,” using “any means necessary” including “bullets, Kalashnikovs, and rockets.”
Even the major credit card companies and financial institutions shut down the ability of Samidoun to use their services for online fundraising, because of concerns they would be providing “material support” to terrorism.
The one destructive thread that weaves all this hatred of our shared democratic values, is the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The PFLP is a proxy of the Iranian regime, which provides the terror group with money, training, and weapons.
Samidoun, an off shoot of the PFLP, has a branch in Tehran. They have even held events there, under pretext of “cultural activity,” to elicit support for operations in Europe. Their leader, Khaled Barakat, is a regular on Iran’s state PressTV, calling for violence and lauding Iran’s involvement in the region.
Person of interests:
Representative Mustafa Awad
Reason for the color:
» Pro-Palestinian Org Has Ties to Iran;