Saturday, September 11, 2010

countries in the courtroom - but not U.S.

You may recall my posting on Adib Abu Ramah, another Palestinian languishes in prison, with a video showing him in non-violent action protesting the Israeli wall cutting through Bil'in (bee-il-EEN) , a town in the West Bank about 10 miles NW of Jerusalem.

Another protester from the same village, Abdallah, was an organizer of the weekly protests at Bil'in.

In prison since December of last year, on August 24, 2010 Abdallah was sentenced under military law for "incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations". His additional time in prison will be announced soon. UPDATE 10/15/2010 - Abdallah has been given another year in prison

From a report on the verdict:
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 10 years maximal sentence.

Military law defines illegal assembly in a much stricter way than Israeli law does, and in practice forbids any assembly of more than 10 people without receiving a permit from the military commander.

How could any law be more sweeping than that? Not only does the military put people under arrest, it is also the military that judges!

Yes, it's outrageous. That's why, per the report, diplomats from France, Malta, Germany, Spain and the UK, as well as a representative of the European Union were in attendance to observe the trial.

Notice a glaring absence - that of anyone from the United States Department of State? The world's superpower and defender of freedom of speech is not allowed by the Israel lobby to be there. Other countries are not so intimidated.

Here is the statement from the Spanish Parliament on the verdict -

STATEMENT FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY INTERGROUP FOR PALESTINE ABOUT ABDALLAH ABU RAHMAH'S CONVICTION (The Intergroup for Palestine is an official body of the Spanish Parliament, in which all political parties are represented. Its decisions and statements are achieved by full consensus)

On August 24, 2010, the coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee (West Bank), Abdallah Abu Rahmah, was convicted of incitement and of participating in and organizing demonstrations by an Israeli Military Court.

This sentence comes after an eight months trial, during which the defendant has been bereft of freedom.

He is now awaiting his sentence, which could carry several years in prison.

The Parliamentary Intergroup for Palestine considers the Bil'in peaceful struggle against the construction of the Separation Wall, which was declared illegal, as a defense of the primacy of law and international law in the face of arbitrary decisions, which ignore not only the reiterated resolutions of the United Nations’ political bodies, but also Israel's own legal organization.

The peaceful opposition to the occupation and the construction of the Wall is in and of itself a defense of the individual and collective human rights of the Palestinian People, which deserves the protection of the international community.

It is on these grounds that Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union, has issued a statement on the issue on August 24, to which the Intergroup subscribes.

Therefore, we express our deep concern that Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s potential incarceration aims at preventing him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the Wall in a non violent manner.

Spanish Congress of Deputies Hall, August 30, 2010.
You can get a full account of the history of and reason for the demonstrations at Bil'in.

Abdallah was released in March 2011

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