Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
10 January 2010
For immediate release:
Abdallah Abu Rahmah, coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall, was remanded until the end of legal proceedings today in an Israeli military court. Abu Rahmah is charged with incitement, stone-throwing and a ridiculous arms possession charge for collecting and displaying used tear gas canisters shot at demonstrators in Bil’in by the army.
A judge in the Ofer military court has ordered the remand of Abdallah Abu Rahmah until the end of legal procedures against him. Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher and the coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in is charged with incitement, stone throwing and possession of illegal arm. The latter charge was pressed against Abu Rahmah for collecting and displaying used tear gas canisters shot at demonstrators in Bil’in by the army.
On receiving the indictment Adv. Gaby Lasky, Abu Rahmah’s lawyer said that “The army shoots at unarmed demonstrators, and when they try to show the violence used against them to the world by collecting and displaying the remnant tear-gas canisters – they are persecuted and prosecuted. What’s next? Charging protesters money for the bullets shot at them?”
On December 10, International Day of Human Rights, exactly one year after receiving Carl Von Ossietzky Medal from the International League for Human Rights, Abu Rahmah was arrested during an Israeli military night-time raid. He was detained for his involvement in organizing unarmed protests against the Wall in the village of Bil’in.
As part of a recent wave of repression against the Palestinian popular protest movement, Israel has charged numerous grassroots organizers with both stone throwing and incitement. In at least one case, that of Mohammed Khatib from Bil’in, the court found evidence presented on a stone-throwing charge to be falsified.
The charge of incitement, defined in military law as “an attempt, whether verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order”, is a cynic attempt to equate grassroots organizing with a hefty charge, and is part of the army’s strategy to use legal measures as a means of quashing the popular movement.
In recent months five members of the Bil’in Popular Committee have been arrested in suspicion of incitement, including Adeeb Abu Rahmah who is now in detention for more than five months. Jamal Juma and Mohammed Othman of the Stop the Wall NGO have also been arrested, presumably for being involved in anti-Wall and BDS work. They are both held with no charges and on secret evidence.