Israeli Detention of Palestinian Activists Must End

For Immediate Release

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Israeli Detention of Palestinian Activists Must End

WASHINGTON - The Israeli authorities must immediately
release, or bring before a fair trial, three Palestinian human rights
activists detained in Israel following their protests against the
construction of the West Bank fence/wall, Amnesty International said
today.

In a letter sent to Ehud Barak, Israeli Defence and Deputy Prime
Minister on Thursday, Amnesty International expressed concern that
Jamal Juma’, Abdallah Abu Rahma and Mohammed Othman were prisoners of
conscience, held for legitimately voicing their opposition to the
fence/wall.

“These men have all been involved in campaigning against the
building of this construction, much of it on the land of the occupied
West Bank, and we fear that this is the real reason for their
imprisonment,” said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International’s
Middle East and North Africa Programme. “If this is the case they must
be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Jamal Juma’ is the co-ordinator of the “Stop the Wall” campaign and
a prominent human rights activist. He was arrested by the Israeli
authorities on 16 December 2009. He has not been formally charged with
any offence since his detention and information relating to his arrest
has not been shared with his lawyer.

A military court in Israel yesterday extended Jamal Juma’s detention for another six days.

Jamal Juma’ is being held under military law, which allows him to be
tried without charge or trial for interrogation for up to 90 days. As
someone who holds a Jerusalem ID card, according to Israeli law his
case should be handled under the country’s civil, not military, legal
system. Since his arrest he has only been permitted limited access to
his lawyer.

Abdallah Abu Rahma, head of the “Popular Committee Against the Wall”
in the village of Bil’in, was arrested on 10 December 2009. He has been
charged with three offences: incitement, stone-throwing, and possession
of arms. 

Amnesty International understands the possession of arms charge
relates to Abdallah Abu Rahma collecting used M16 bullets, and empty
sound and gas grenades, employed by Israeli forces to disperse
demonstrators against the wall, and exhibiting them in Bil’in museum to
raise awareness of Israeli practices against protestors.

Mohammed Othman, a volunteer with the “Stop the Wall” campaign, has
been detained continuously since 22 September 2009. He was arrested on
his return from Norway, after meeting activist groups there campaigning
against the fence/wall and is being held without charge or trial in
Israeli administrative detention.

The International Court of Justice ruled in an advisory opinion in
2004 that the construction of the fence/wall on the territory of the
occupied West Bank is contrary to international law and should be
dismantled. Israel has ignored the ruling.

“These three men are all well known for their defence of the human
rights of Palestinians. In the unlikely event that there are genuine
grounds to prosecute these men, they should be charged with
recognizable criminal offences and brought promptly to trial in full
conformity with international fair trial standards,” said Malcolm Smart.

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Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.

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