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Kafkaesque abuse of Rateb Abu Rahma

International release June 29, Tel-Aviv

Remember the two brothers, Abdullah and Rateb Abu Rahma, from Bil'in on whose behalf so many peace activists from all over the world sent protest letters? Abdullah was released on bail last week, but Rateb not, as the Border Police who had wounded Rateb claimed that Rateb had attacked him first.

Today, the judge saw the video footage and was convinced that the police had lied. Why Rateb is still behind bars, you can read in the following update by Kobi Snitz (Anarchists against Fences).

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Kafkaesque abuse of Rateb Abu Rahma.

On Friday June 17th, the brothers Abdullah and Rateb Abu Rahma were arrested at a demonstration against the construction of the wall on the lands of their home village of Bil'in. The brothers were charged with throwing stones at the police but video tape taken by Shai Polak and Imad Barnes clearly shows that this is not so. The evidence was so clear that the military judge rebuked the police for lying about the case and ordered the two released. Last week Abdullah was released from the Ofer prison camp on 5000 shekels bail but the decision about Rateb's case was postponed to Tuesday June 28th. When Adv. Tamar Peleg, a Hamoked lawyer who represents the two, arrived at the military court she was told that Rateb's file was lost and the court clerks had no idea where it might be.

After hours of delay the judge who heard the case the week before was located and the decision he made was read by a second judge. The decision the judge criticized the police for lying and ordered Rateb released on 5000 shekels bail. On this news, the Abu Rahma family set out chairs in the garden in preparation for a celebration and people began to come by to congratulate them. At the same time, Israeli activist Leiser Peles rushed to Jerusalem to post the bail for Rateb and then things started to go wrong. On Leiser's return to the Ofer prison camp he was arrested and accused of being inside area A (which is forbidden for Israeli citizens). After hours of waiting at the prison gate, the delegation from the vilage was told that the prosecution appealed the release and that the appeal will be heard the next day. The judge who allowed the appeal apparently told the prosecution that the case is so clear cut that he will surely turn down their appeal but still allowed them another day to file it.

The cruel process of expectation and disappointment was repeated again today (June 29). With just minutes before the deadline the prosecution filed their appeal and the hearing was set for the next day.

At this point a hearing is set for tomorrow (Thursday June 29th) at the Ofer prison camp. Rateb is now represented by Adv. Gaby Lasky who took over from Peleg who is abroad.


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