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Bilin protest (archive) Photo: AFP
Bilin protest (archive) Photo: AFP
 
 

'Anti-fence activist still in jail after completing sentence'

Palestinian sources say military court preventing release of leader of Bilin protests against separation fence who was convicted of incitement, despite having completed his prison term

Ali Waked
Published: 11.23.10, 00:58 / Israel News

The president of the Military Court of Appeals Colonel Aharon Mishnayot accepted a military prosecution request Monday and ordered the arrest of Abdullah Abu Rahma who serves as the director of the Bilin village's popular committee against the seperation fence, despite the fact that he completed his prison sentence for his involvement in organizing the anti-fence protests last Thursday, Palestinian sources reported.

 

Anti-fence activists and members of the committee claim that the decision goes against Supreme Court guidelines regarding jailing prisoners who completed their sentences, which stipulates it can only be done in special circumstances. The military prosecution approached the court at the last minute to prevent Abu Rahma's release Thursday and initiated a hearing on the case.

 

In October, Abu Rahma was sentenced to 12 months in prison for incitement and the organization of unauthorized protests. After his imprisonment, the European Union issued a special statement where it defined Abu Rahma as a protector of human rights. EU representatives attended all the hearings in his case.

 

EU foreign affairs chief Catherin Ashton expressed concern over the case and claimed that Abu Rahma's arrest was meant to prevent him and other Palestinians from realizing their legitimate right to non-violent protest against the separation fence.


'We're determined to contiune non-violent struggle against fence' (Photo: Activestills)

 

Muhammad Khatib, member of the popular committee, told Ynet that the decision illustrates the security establishment's policy of fighting the leaders of non-violent protest at any cost. "This decision will not affect our activity. Abdullah and other leaders' arrests prove they do not affect our determination to continue fighting against the expropriation of our lands and against the fence.

 

"We are determined to fight against the injustice and shall keep championing the popular, non-violent struggle."

 

Abu Rahma's Attorney Gabi Lasky claimed that the decision to remand him after he completed his sentence makes a mockery of the law and of "justice itself." She nevertheless noted she was not surprised: "The military courts are a well oiled machine of unfair and biased legal procedure. Today's decision proves that."

 

 

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