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'Persecuted.' Abu Rahma (archives)
Photo: Frida Gutman

Leader of anti-fence protests in Bilin gets year in jail

Abdallah Abu Rahma, who was convicted of incitement, illegal protest, already served 10 months. Bilin councilman says army served as 'prosecutor, judge and jury' in case, adding, 'We'll continue fighting for our land'

The military court in Ofer on Monday sentenced the head of the "Popular Committee Against the Wall" in the West Bank village of Bilin to a year in prison.

 

In August Abdallah Abu Rahma was convicted of incitement and participating in illegal demonstrations against the construction of Israel's security barrier. He was also handed a six-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay a NIS 5,000 (about $1,400) fine.

 

Since Abu Rahma's arrest last year, international elements, mainly from Europe, demanded that Israel stop "persecuting" activists who are waging a "non-violent struggle against the separation fence."

 

A number of European diplomats and representatives of human rights groups were present during the reading of the sentence.

 

Abu Rahma has already served most of his sentence, as he was detained 10 months ago. He will be released from jail in two months.

 

In handing down the relatively light sentence, the judges took into account a High Court of Justice ruling from 2007, which stated that the segment of the security barrier near Bilin was constructed illegally.

 

After the sentencing, Muhammad Khatib, a senior Bilin councilman and member of the "Popular Committee Against the Wall," said the Israeli army served as "prosecutor, judge and jury" in the case. According to him, the army is looking to use the Abu Rahma case to deter anti-fence activists.

 

"We have no choice but to continue to fight for our land, liberty and dignity," he said.

 

Following Abu Rahma's conviction, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton expressed her concern that his imprisonment is meant to prevent him and other Palestinians from holding legitimate protests against the separation fence.

 

 


פרסום ראשון: 10.11.10, 19:07
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