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Israeli army detains Freedom Theater actor

Aug. 6, 2011 10:30 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 8, 2011 3:03 P.M.)
JENIN (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Saturday detained an acting student of the iconic Freedom Theater at a checkpoint near Jenin, theater staff said.

Rami Awni Hwayel, 20, was detained, handcuffed and blindfolded at Shave Shomeron checkpoint in the northern West Bank. He was returning from rehearsals in Ramallah, the theater said in a statement.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said a Palestinian was arrested at the Shave Shomeron checkpoint but had no further details.

Hwayel is the third member of the theater to be detained by the Israeli army in recent weeks.

On July 27, Israeli soldiers detained Adnan Naghnaghiye and Bilal Saadi during a dawn raid on the West Bank city.

Director Udi Aloni said Hwayel's detention was "devastating."

"Rami is playing the main role in 'Waiting for Godot' and doing an amazing job, he's so dedicated to the work. He just left rehearsals today for the weekend to see his family for Ramadan. It's terrible, we want our Pozzo back."

The theater urged its friends and supporters to act "in order to stop this outrageous harassment by the Israeli army against a cultural establishment."

In April, unknown assailants shot dead the theater's general-director, Juliano Mer-Khamis, 52, an Israeli national, in an unsolved case which has frustrated local security services despite initial claims of success.

Mer-Khamis' late mother founded the theater in the 1980s.

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