Riot in Bilin (Archives)
Photo: Active Stills
Abdullah Abu Rahmah, head of the Popular Committee in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah, was convicted Tuesday of incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations against the construction of the separation fence near the village.
The court acquitted him of stoning IDF troops and possession of illegal firearms, which he claimed he used only to illustrate the IDF's use of them against civilian demonstrators. The court accepted the defense's argument that the charges were irrelevant.
"We brought numerous witnessed that testified that this is a teacher and an educator, who advocates peace and non-violent resistance to occupation," defense attorney Gabby Lasky told Ynet.
Lasky argued that her client was "essentially abducted from his Ramallah home in the middle of the night by IDF soldiers. All they had to do was ask him to accompany them for questioning and he would have done so – just as he did in the past.
"It is hard to understand security forces' desecration in sending troops into Area A, in breach of agreements with the Palestinian Authority, to arrest a man suspected of organizing rallies – as if he were a dangerous terrorist," said Lasky.
Such decisions, she continued, are evident of the Israeli authorities' attitude towards Bilin demonstrators: "It seems that the authorities have decided to put a legal stop to the anti-fence rallies, after they failed to do so by force."
Abu Rahmah's sentencing hearing has been set for September. "The courts usually convert sentencing in such cases to community service, rather than jail time," said Lasky.
"Nevertheless, since this is a military court, he is most likely facing a harsher sentence."
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook