Abdallah Abu Rahma, chairman of the Bilin Popular Committee was indicted Tuesday for possession of tear-gas grenades and used M-16 bullets and their public display.
Abu Rahma was arrested on International Human Rights Day two weeks ago. IDF sources told Ynet at the time that the arrest was due to Abu Rahma's involvement in weekly demonstrations at his West Bank village in protest of the West Bank security barrier.
However, the indictment cites a different, official reason for the arrest – the possession of tear-gas grenades and used M-16 bullets in the purpose of displaying them in an exhibition showing the public the means used by security forces against protestors.
Abu Rahma was also charged on two other counts – incitement and hurling of stones at security forces with the intent to hit. "The committee members are inciting the masses to injure security forces while calling on the crowd 'fend them off', 'throw in their direction', 'don't let them fire,'" the indictment stated.
Another clause noted that the accused prepared bottles and balloons stuffed with rooster fieces to be hurled at security forces.
Jonathan Polack, an activist opposing the security fence and a close friend of Abu Rahma was shocked to learn of the arrest.
"What do they arrest a man for? An empty grenade? There's nothing in there, it's a piece of rubber. Those grenades were collected from the ground after the army fired them on protestors in Bilin and were meant for a display at the village showing the extent of violence employed by the IDF against protestors."
Polack further noted, "The indictment proves that they are out to arrest him and leaders of the popular struggle at any price, but it won't break us."
He said that Abu Rahma remained positive despite the indictment. "He believes in the justness of his way," Polack noted. "He will keep on fighting despite his friends and himself being shot and spending time in prison. It's not as if they have any other choice."
Abu Rahma's attorney Keren Lasky stated in response that his arrest was "an arbitrary move seeking to put an end to struggle within democracy. This is an anti-democratic step and we shall fight until he is released and until the right to protest against the occupation is recognized."
The IDF stated in response, "On Tuesday an indictment was filed against Abdallah Abu Rahma for offences of incitement, stone throwing and possession of arms.
"The prosecution motioned to extend his remand until all legal proceedings against him are completed. Abu Rahma's attorneys motioned to postpone the hearing by eight days and a remand hearing will be held next Tuesday in the Judea Military Court."