11 September 2011 | Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
When I was in prison for organizing protest in my village of Bil’in, I knew that if I make bail or have to pay a fine to be released, someone would pay it. Worrying about such technicalities was literally the last thing on my mind. But now that I am free and other protesters are in prison, that knowledge has turned into a responsibility. My responsibility is to make sure other don’t have to worry about it as well.
Ibrahim Srour, a resident of Nil’in, has been imprisoned by Israel for nearly two years for participating in local protests. He will be released from prison on October 2nd, if the immense 12,000 NIS (3,250 USD) fine placed by a military court judge is raised in time.
Ibrahim Srour, 20, was arrested on January 7th, 2010, during a nighttime raid on his village, Ni’ilin. The soldiers who snatched him from his bed at gunpoint had been sent to arrest him for his participation in demonstrations held in protest of the construction of the Wall and the theft of some 30% of Ni’ilin’s lands. Protests, in which five unarmed protesters, including a 10 year-old boy, were killed by the Israeli army.
Prior to his arrest, Ibrahim was the main breadwinner to a large and poor family, including a sick father. Based on flimsy evidence, he was eventually sentenced by a military tribunal to twenty months in prison and a 3,250 USD fine. Ibrahim’s family cannot afford to pay the fine. Please help us raise the money to secure his release.
Ibrahim was arrested and charged based on statements drawn from a mentally challenged youth from the village. These coerced statements were used to against not only Ibrahim, but dozens of Ni’ilin’s protestors. The statements themselves and the man who gave them were so unreliable, that even a military judge was forced to disqualify them and acquit a defendant in another case.
The practice of pressuring weak individuals into making incriminating statements in order to put protesters and protest leaders behind bars is in common use by the Israeli army, as in the case of Nabi Salah, where the coerced confession of a 14 year-old boy during an unlawful interrogation brought about the arrest of more than 20 people.