Israeli courts criminalize protest: Adeeb Abu Rahma sentenced to two years

04/07/2010

Source : ISM

Israeli repression of Palestinian non-violent resistance against the Wall and the Occupation takes a distubring turn: Adeeb Abu Rahma, from Bil’in Village, sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

On 30 June 2010, grassroots activist Adeeb Abu Rahma, member of the Bil’in Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, was sentenced by Israeli military court to two years’ imprisonment, after being arrested on 10 July 2009 during a weekly demonstration in Bil’in, and after spending 11 months of detention in the Ofer military complex in the Occupied Territories.

Adeeb Abu Rahma is a taxi-driver and he has 11 children, he’s well known for his generosity and constant presence at village of Bil’in’s weekly demonstrations against Israel’s wall and for his commitment to popular nonviolent resistance, and the sentence is part of Israeli strategy to repress and criminalize popular nonviolent struggle against the Occupation and the Wall.

The sentence that condemned Adeeb states that he is guilty of “encourage violence”, “activity against public order” and of being “present in a closed military area”, as Bil’in has been declared every Friday from 8am to 8pm, in order to prevent the weekly demonstration. Adeeb lives in the village, and always has; so he has been convicted of being present in his own home.

Adeeb’s case relied on the forced confessions of four Bil’in youth – 14, 15 and 16 years old – arrested during a night raid by Israeli soldiers and forced to state that Adeeb told them to throw stones at the soldiers.

Adeeb Abu Rahma’s arrest is just the latest in a series of repressive measures implemented by Israel in order to stop the popular nonviolent resistance of Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals. Palestinian protestors are targeted by mass arrests, night raids and criminalization of the members of the Popular Committee members who lead the protests.

For the past five years the people from Bil’in have waged an ongoing struggle against the Israeli wall and the Occupation. Other villages such as Nil’in, Al-Ma’asara, Budrus, Jayyus, An-Nabi Saleh, Iraq Burin and Al-Wallaja have joined this struggle.

According to data provided by Addameer and Stop the Wall, more than 1,566 Palestinians have been injuried and 16 have been killed between 2005 and 2009 during nonviolent demonstration in the Occupied Territories. Since 2002, in the villages of Bilin, Nilin, Al-Ma’asara, and Budrus, 176 Palestinian citizens have been arrested.

Today more than ever, it is necessary to campaign for the release of more than 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners, among which more than 300 are minors.

Send a letter of appeal for Adeeb Abu Rahma’s release to:

  • Mrs Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders
  • H.E.RIYAD H MANSOUR, Ambassador, Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine
  • H.E. DANIEL CARMON, Deputy Representative of Israel to the United Nations
  • Menachem Mazuz Israeli Attorney General, Israeli Ministry of Justice

or, send the following letter through Justice for Palestine Matters website (see "Take action" box on the right):

MRS MARGARET SEKAGGYA,

UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders

Your Excellency

I appeal to you to demand that Israel secures the immediate and unconditional release of Bilin non-violent activist, Adeeb Abu Rahmah

On 30 June grassroots activist Adeeb Abu Rahmah was sentenced by Israel to two years imprisonment at a military court hearing at the Ofer Military Complex in the occupied West Bank. Abu Rahmah already spent 11 months behind bars and his arrest and detention is part of Israel’s repressive efforts to criminalize the grassroots popular resistance to the Israeli occupation.

Adeeb Abu Rahmah is known for his vibrant presence at the occupied West Bank village of Bilin’s weekly demonstrations against Israel’s wall and for his commitment to popular non-violent resistance. A founding member of the Bilin Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, Abu Rahmah was arrested at a non-violent demonstration on 10 July 2009 and later indicted by the military prosecution on grounds of ‘incitement,’ ‘activity against public order,’ and ‘being present in a closed military zone.’

Abu Rahmah has repeatedly affirmed his commitment to non-violent resistance. He has also denied all charges, aside from acknowledging his participation in the weekly demonstrations aganst the illegal apartheid wall. Although his release was initially ordered on 16 July 2009, the prosecution later appealed the decision and Abu Rahmah was remanded into custody for the duration of his legal proceedings.

Many contend that Israel’s investigation of Abu Rahmeh was flawed from the very beginning, and the Israeli military court system is notorious for its lack of respect for international standards of fair trial and detention. A 5 March 2010 Human Rights Watch report particularly highlighted many due process concerns where investigations regarding Palestinian anti-wall demonstrators are concerned, citing charges based on ‘questionable evidence and allegedly coerced confessions.’

Abu Rahmah’s case could also have far-reaching implications for other anti-wall activists currently awaiting trial. As Amnesty International explained, he could be ‘the first activist against the fence/wall to be brought to a full evidential trial in a case of this kind.’ Abu Rahmah’s conviction could potentially set troubling new precedents for further criminalizing the popular resistance.

Sincerely

Adeeb’s daughter Raja

We also ask your support for Adeeb’s daughter, Raja. Though from a simple family, Raja has won extremely high marks in the nationwide high-school exam scores, and she is now studying medicine at Bir Zeit University. Adeeb drives a taxi, and fees and other expenses would never have been easy for him, but his beloved daughter’s education has always been his priority. Since his imprisonment, friends of Adeeb have donated to allow Raja to continue her studies. She now needs $1500 for next semester’s fees, and we hope that supporters of Bil’in and of Adeeb can help her to realize her dreams and those of her father.

Please donate money to Raja by PayPal: