Thursday, September 2, 2010

another Palestinian languishes in prison

Israel has a policy called Administrative Detention in the occupied territories. It's detention without charge or trial that is authorized by administrative order rather than by judicial decree, part of the system of military justice to which Palestinians are subjected, unlike the settlers in the occupied territories who, though they do not live in Israel, are protected by the same system of civil courts as any Israeli.

This means a Palestinian can be arrested easily because with no charge required, who couldn't be hauled in?

It's also a fact that torture of prisoners is legal in Israeli prisons under certain conditions. Who would want to test if those conditions are properly met? Add to this the fact that thousands of Palestinians have experienced prison stays and you can understand why no Palestinian would take the possibility of arrest lightly.

With this in mind, watch a courageous and passionate man, Adib Abu Rahmah, in a video taken in 2008, as he led protesters objecting to the wall being put through Bil'in. The soldiers he faces, calm and passive, in addition to holding guns also hold all the cards, he holds only a flag. With the protesters dispersed, they leave.

By the way, to any who doubt that many Israelis are disgusted with what their country is doing - note the name of the videographer/editor, Yisrael Puterman. Abu Rahmah was not arrested in this video but you can see his method of shaming the powerful. Please watch then read on below.

He didn't give up after this, but continued his protests at Bil'in until about a year ago when he was arrested.

Here is a press release from today, September 2, 2010 - boldface is mine

Adeeb Abu Rahmah, 38, a taxi-driver and father of nine and courageous nonviolent activist, was arrested during one of the weekly protests in Bil’in over 11 months ago. An initial decision to release him on condition of avoiding demonstrations was reversed on July 21st 2009 when the military prosecution appealed. A judge ruled he should be kept till the end of proceedings against him.

Eventually sentenced on June 30th 2010, he was convicted of “inciting violence” and “activity against the public order”. These broad military orders are increasingly being used by Israel to criminalize peaceful protest. An additional charge initially made against him for inciting others to throw stones was withdrawn following arguments and evidence put forward by his legal defense.

The appeal rejected yesterday - which had argued that his conviction was incorrect and his sentence too severe – was dismissed by the military judge on the grounds that not enough time had passed since the latest appeal was lodged. Instead he will remain incarcerated until a judge decides whether or not to grant the prosecution’s request that his sentence be increased to two years or more.

Amnesty International amongst others called the Israeli court not to convict him, saying that: “The broad scope of Israeli military orders mean that Adeeb Abu Rahma could be imprisoned solely for legitimately exercizing his right to freedom of expression in opposing Israeli policies in the West Bank.” They added that he should be regarded “as a prisoner of conscience who should be released immediately and unconditionally.”
So Abu Rahma, in prison almost a year will remain there. Who knows when he will be out? Would this be acceptable in America? Remember habeas corpus? It doesn't apply to Palestinians, who, in the eyes of Israel, are a nuisance to be dealt with with little regard to what we know as due process.

UPDATE - Adib Abu Rahma was given another year in prison extended to 18 months by request of the Israeli government (10/26/2010)

In the military courts the conviction rate is about 97% and the time taken for each case is about 13 minutes according to Joseph Dana. In standing with Israel, America stands with this kind of "justice". Over $3 billion of our money goes there every year, like clockwork. Why?

1 comment:

  1. The Israeli government has, for decades, either imprisoned or exhiled (relatively) nonviolent protestors. Defacto, this leaves only the hidden, violent planners; knowing this, the government continues its arrests, driven partly by fear of what does not surface.

    What authority fails to understand is that nonviolent protesters are a great ally against those who should be truly feared. In nonviolence, your first opponent lives among those you defend.