25 August 2010 | Popular Struggle
UPDATE: Baroness Ashton condemns Bil’in leader’s conviction; Attorney: “International community must take a tough stand on human rights defenders.”
Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee, was yesterday convicted of incitement and organizing illegal marches by an Israeli military court. The conviction concluded an eight months long political show trial, during which he was kept behind bars. Help us work for his release
Persecuted for his key role in organizing the successful grassroots campaign against the wall and Jewish-only settlement on Bil’in’s land, Abdallah was convicted based only on the forced testimonies of minors who were arrested from their beds at the middle of the night. not a single material evidence was presented during the entire trial.
Last year, on the night of International Human Right Day, Thursday December 10th, at 2am, Abdallah Abu Rahmah was arrested from his home in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Seven military jeeps surrounded his house, and Israeli soldiers broke the door, took Abdallah from his bed and, after briefly allowing him to say goodbye to his wife Majida and their three children — seven year-old Luma, five year-old Lian and eight month-old baby Laith — they blindfolded him and took him into custody.
Abu Rahmah did not find himself behind bars because he is a dangerous man. Abdallah, who is amongst the leaders of the Palestinian village of Bil’in, is viewed as a threat for his work in the five-year unarmed struggle to save the village’s land from Israel’s wall and expanding settlements.
As a member of the Popular Committee and its coordinator since it was formed in 2004, Abdallah has represented the village of Bil’in around the world. In June 2009, he attended the village’s precedent-setting legal case in Montreal against two Canadian companies illegally building settlements on Bil’in’s land; in December of 2008, he participated in a speaking tour in France, and on 10 December 2008, exactly a year before his arrest, Abdallah received the Carl Von Ossietzky Medal for Outstanding Service in the Realization of Basic Human Rights, awarded by the International League for Human Rights in Berlin.
Last summer Abdallah was standing shoulder to shoulder with Nobel Peace laureates and internationally renowned human rights activists, discussing Bil’in’s grassroots campaign for justice when The Elders visited his village. This summer, he may be sent to years in prison, exactly for his involvement in this campaign.
Abdallah’s outrageous conviction today will be followed by a sentence in the coming weeks. The amount of pressure we will be able to generate in this time could influence Abdallah’s sentence, but will also make clear to Israeli authorities that the repression of the popular struggle does have a political price.
Please use the below template letters prepared by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee to ask your Minister of Foreign Affairs to send an official inquiry to the Israeli government about Abdallah. Demand that your country apply pressure on Israeli officials to release Abdallah Abu Rahmah and stop targeting popular struggle.