Ofer - Sentence, Separation Barrier
Translation: Marganit W.
Verdict in the trial of Abdallah Abu Rahmeh
The entrance to the court at the Ofer Campus is divided by fences into two lanes: one side is for the Palestinian families coming from Beituniya Checkpoint and the other for attorneys and Israelis. God forbid there should be contact between the two. Our entrance was crowded with many Israelis who had come to hear the verdict in the trial of Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, as well as representatives of human rights organizations and foreign consulates. The weekly demonstrations by the residents of Bil'in against the separation fence and the land theft, which have been accompanied by a very successful media campaign, have made Bil'in into a recognizable brand, and the Bil'in detainees are known all over the world as prisoners of conscience.
This explains the massive presence of reporters and photographers who apparently were given permits to shoot inside the courts. However, one self important officer insisted that no photos be taken in the yard, and shoved the photographers and those being interviewed - the activist Jonathan Pollack and Attorney Gaby Lasky - to the edge of the yard against an ugly tin fence and toilets, so that everyone who watches television will see what Israel looks like. A gentle representative from the Army Spokesman's office was present but did not interfere. Gaby Lasky and Jonathan Pollack were interviewed by reporters and various news channels. In view of the great interest this trial had generated, it was not surprising that none of the Israeli TV stations bothered to report it.
Our site contains the following reports on Abu Rahmeh's trial:
Abdullah Abu Rahmeh was charged, among other things, with holding several kinds of combat materiel. It later transpired that he had been collecting in the village empty tear gas canisters and rubber bullets that the soldier had fired at the demonstrators; he used to display them near his house for the benefit of visitors. There were other allegations of "disobeying orders in an enclosed military area," "interfering with military action," "incitement to violence" and taking part in demonstrations.
Abu Rahmeh's wife and brother were in court, as well as 20 observers, both Israeli and foreign. He was led into court handcuffed, lifting his hands in a V gesture, a la Marwan Bargouti. He was pale, agitated and tense.
Etty Adar is the judge in this trial, but the verdict she had written was read by Justice Sharon Rivlin-Ahai. This time, I am attaching the protocol (Hebrew) of the entire verdict, sparing you my well-known opinion of the military justice and the military court procedures. It is worthwhile to read this fascinating document:
-12 month in jail from the day of arrest (he has already been detained for 10 months)
-6 months suspended sentence
-5000 shekels fine
Atty. Nery Ramati surmised that the prosecution would appeal the light sentence (so Abu Rahmeh will continue to languish in jail). The defense, however, was considering appealing the harshness of the sentence.