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Update on Mohammad Khatib and the six Biliners abducted by the Israeli occupation forces

6 August 2009

The Military Prosecution is claiming that the 7 people taken from their homes during the night raid that took place in Bil’in on August 3rd are suspected of stone throwing. A leading member of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, non-violent activist Mohammad Khatib, is accused of incitement to “damage the security of the area.”

A military judge ruled not to release Mohammad Khatib from detention on Thursday August 6th. Another leading non-violent activist from Bil’in, Adeeb Abu Rahme, has remained in custody since his arrest during a demonstration against the Wall in Bil’in on July 10th. (see the video on http://palsolidarity.org/2009/07/7652, Adeeb is the protester in the orange shirt with the mega-phone). He is being held until the end of proceedings against him. This could mean months or a year in military prison for Adeeb, who is the sole provider for his family of 9 children, wife and mother.

A hearing in which an appeal for the release of the six other Biliners arrested on August 3rd took place on Thursday August 6th. The three brothers, Khaled Shawkat Abd-Alrazic al-Khateeb (age 23), Mustafa Shawkat Abd-Alrazic al-Khateeb (age18), and Mohammed Shawkat Abd-Alrazic al-Khateeb (age 16); Abdullah Ahmad Yassen (age 18); Abdullah Mohammed Ali Yassen (age 16); Issa Mahmoud Issa Abu Rahma (age 40); During a previous hearing that took place on the 4th of august it was apparent that many of these detainees had been badly beaten. Abdullah Ahmad Yassen (18) showed the military judge the bruises and beating marks on his torso. Sixteen year old Abdullah Moahammed Ali Yassen reported having a knife put to his neck and being threatened to be slaughtered if he didn’t report where his brother was. These, other interrogation and pressure tactics are used to obtain “confessions” from children rounded up during night time raids from the village. They are coerced into “confessing” that they throw stones at the instructions of the village leaders. Currently 19 Biliner’s are being held in custody by the military. Abdullah Mohamad Ali Yassen may be released on August 7th in the unlikely event of the military prosecution not filing an appeal against his release.

“Mohammad Khatib and Adeeb Abu Rahme, along with other leaders of the Palestinian popular struggle, are being targeted because they mobilize Palestinians to resist non- violently.” outlines Abdullah Abu Rahme, coordinator of Bil’in’s Popular Committee, “The Apartheid Wall and the settlements built on our land are the real crimes being committed. Israel is stealing our land from us and then prosecuting us as criminals because we struggle non-violently for justice.”

The Palestinian village of Bil’in has become an international symbol of the Palestinian popular struggle. For almost 5 years, its residents have been continuously struggling against the de facto annexation of more than 50% of their farmlands via the construction of the Apartheid Wall. One demonstrator, Basem Abu Rahma, was killed at a demonstration as he was attempting to speak with the soldiers. (see the video http://palsolidarity.org/2009/01/4699). In a celebrated decision, the Israeli Supreme court ruled on the September 4th 2007 that the current route of the wall in Bil’in was illegal and needed to be dismantled; the ruling however has not been implemented.