Sama Abdulhad safely home after eight-day detention in Jericho jail

SAMA’ ABDULHADI, the 30-year old Palestinian electronic musician and DJ, has been released on bail by Palestinian Authorities following an eight-day detention in a Jericho jail. Abdulhadi was released on bail by PA court order on the basis of a cash bond of 500 Jordanian Dinar bail and a restriction of travel order outside of Palestine and is subject to further investigation on the charges of desecrating a holy site and religious symbols and violating Covid 19 emergency measures. Abdulhadi faces up to two years of imprisonment if indicted. She has not been indicted yet and is awaiting the Attorney Generals decision whether the charges will be pursued or not, following the final results of the investigation. Abdulhadi is now safely with her family.

Abdulhadi was held for questioning and then detained on the 27th of December following a private event created for a pre-recorded performance series titled ‘The Residency’ for leading music platform, Beatport. The location for the event, Maqam Nabi Musa in the West Bank, is in part still used as a place of worship but was also declared an attraction for tourists by the Ministry of Tourism in 2019 and is regularly available for hire and many non-electronic musical events have happened there.

Abdulhadi’s detention led to huge international support for her release from the electronic community of artists and DJs as well as musical icons like Brian Eno and Roger Waters. A Change.org petition was created asking for her release and has had over 100,000 signatures. In late 2020, Abdulhadi was commissioned to film a four-part, one-month residency for the global Beatport electronic music platform with the intention of showcasing the growing music scene in the Middle East and in Palestine. Beatport has been running weekly streams throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and has become an important lifeline for artists and musicians to stay connected to their global audiences. 

The third location of the residency, based on Abdulhadi’s own five-hour solo performance, took place in the courtyard of a hostel on the property of the Nabi Mussa historical, tourist and cultural site. It was approved to Abdulhadi in writing by the General Director of the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The pre-record was private with a total of 30 friends and working crew in attendance. The recording was ended in the last few minutes by a group who burst into the venue and told guests to leave claiming it wasn’t right for the recording to be taking place in a religious site. 

Abdulhadi states today: “I am safe and well and would like to thank everybody who has spoken out in support of my situation and called for my immediate release. I am overwhelmed by the support from my fellow musicians, artists, activists and the entire music community. I want to thank anybody and everybody who has made me feel so supported. At this moment, I just want to spend time with my family.”

Abduhadi, originally from Ramallah, rose to fame via a powerful Boiler Room event which was streamed from the city on June 22nd 2018 which projected her onto the international stage. The broadcast, and supporting documentary, has received over six million views. Her career has taken her all over the world and onto the biggest stages, and she is one of the leading artists of the growing Middle East musical movement for electronic music. Much beyond the success she’s already enjoying, Abdulhadi’s goal has always been to put Palestine on the musical map and uses her status to support the growing number of musicians at home.