UPDATE, Thursday 12th, 6.30pm: The military judge at Ofer refused to release Emad into house arrest at the home of someone in Bil’in, insisting that an alternative be found outside the village. For now, Emad remains in an Israeli prison. The next hearing is on the 15th.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
At midday, Friday the 13th of October, the villagers of Bil’in will march in solidarity with Emad Bornat, the Reuters cameraman and video-journalist, also a resident of Bil’in. The demonstrators will hold up cameras as a sign of solidarity with Emad and protest against the Israeli army’s crackdown on freedom of press.
Today, October 11th, at the appeal hearing, the Israeli military decided to launch an indictment against Emad. The judge will make a ruling tomorrow at 4pm, but that might not be the end of his captivity. After an initial hearing at Ofer military court on the 10th, military judge Shlomo Katz, ordered Emad to be released, but the Israeli military appealed this decision and said he should be held for a further 72 hours. The judge gave the army 24 hours to contest the judgement or indict him.
Emad Mohammad Bornat of the village of Bil’in, video photographer for Reuters and documentary film maker, was arrested on Friday October 6th, 2006 by a Israeli Border Police unit that entered the village, firing rubber bullets and sound grenades. Emad is being held in Israeli military custody and will be brought in front of a judge at Ofer military base tomorrow Tuesday the 10th of October.
Emad, who was filming at the time, was arrested by an Israeli Border policeman. When Emad arrived at the police station in Givat Zeev, he was wounded. The Border Police soldiers claimed a radio “fell” on him in the jeep, on the way to the station. He was taken to the Hadassah – Har Hatzofim hospital and was then taken back to the police station in Givat Zeev. After he was interrogated, the police refused to view the tapes that Emad filmed. Emad is accused of “assault on an officer” and of stone throwing and was sent to the Etzion prison. Israeli Border Police have in the past been rebuked by military judges on false testimonies towards arrested Palestinian demonstrators and their Israeli supporters.
Emad has tirelessly documented the struggle of his village against the wall and settlements, and is known by many other professionals with whom he works and cooperates, giving them video material for their films and reports. He is a man of peace and a dedicated and responsible video-photo-journalist. His video footage has been broadcast throughout the world, showing the demonstrations against the wall Israel is constructing on his village’s land. It shows the routine, and often brutal, violence of the Israeli military in general and the Border Police in particular on the demonstrations, especially as used against Palestinians.
For more information:
Mohammed Khatib: 054 557 3285
Attorney Gaby Laski: 054 449 18988
Israeli video-journalist Shai Polack: 054 533 3364