Palestinian political prisoner Abdallah Abu Rahmah released from Israeli prison

14 mars 2011 | معتمد Palestine, Prisoners
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March 14, 2011, Palestinian activist Abdallah Abu Rahmah released from Israeli prison.

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Photo: Iyas Abu Rahmah. Palestinian community activist Abdallah Abu Rahmah upon release from Israeli prison.

Palestinian community activist Abdallah Abu Rahmah, from Bil’in, Palestine, has been released from Israeli prison after being jailed for sixteen month as a political prisoner. Abu Rahmah visited Canada in 2009 to speak in Montreal on a lawsuit launched by Bil’in village against two companies registered in Quebec, Green Mount International and Green Park International, due their involvement in constructing Israeli settlements on agricultural lands belonging to Bil’in, which had been confiscated previously by the Israeli state.

Abu Rahmah was charged in October 2010 with incitement and organization of peaceful demonstrations in Bilin and was sentenced to one year in prison, at the Ofer military court, for his non-violent resistance against Israel’s apartheid wall.

Abdallah Abu Rahmah is the coordinator of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. He was arrested by Israeli forces at 2am on 10 December 2009. The military forcibly entered his Ramallah home, took him from his bed and then to Ofer Prison, where he was incarcerated for the last 16 months.

On 24 August Abu Rahmah was convicted in an Israeli military court of incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations, while additional charges of stone throwing and arms possession were dropped. Under Israeli military law, incitement is defined as, “The attempt, verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order” (section 7(a) of the Order Concerning Prohibition of Activities of Incitement and Hostile Propaganda (no.101), 1967), and carries a maximum 10 year sentence.

Following the sentencing, the EU high representative Catherine Ashton said, “The EU considers Abdallah Abu Rahmah to be a human rights defender committed to non-violent protest against the route of the Israeli separation barrier … The EU considers the route of the barrier where it is built on Palestinian land to be illegal.”

“The high representative is deeply concerned that the possible imprisonment of Mr Abu Rahmah is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the separation barriers in a non-violent manner.”

In January, Amnesty International had called Abu Rahmah a “prisoner of conscience jailed solely for speaking out” and called for his immediate and unconditional release.

“By extending Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s sentence the Israeli authorities appear to be seeking not only to punish him further in a case where the prosecution’s evidence was questionable to begin with, but to deter others from participating in legitimate protests,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said.

Although we celebrate the release of Abdallah Abu Rahma thousands of Palestinian political prisoners remain unjustly incarcerated in Israeli prisons.

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