Palestine: Resistance in the Court
Resistance in the Court
1. Free Adnan Nimar
2. Declared Innocent
3. International Peace Activists Released from Hospital
May 17, 2006
for pictures see:
Please give to the ISM legal fund and help us release Adnan Ahmad Nimer, a 19 year-old activist from Beit Sira. Let the people of Beit Sira know that they are not alone.
During a demonstration on the 24th of March, Israeli Border Police beat Adnan to the ground with clubs, held both his arms and began strangling him. Adnan’s only way to get the solider to stop was to use his mouth. He bit the fingers of one of the soldiers that was beating him as hard as he could, breaking two of the soldier’s fingers. Other soldiers then continued to attack Adnan with clubs, breaking his front teeth.
Adnan was abducted from his home on the 8th of April at 2am by the Israeli military. Thirty soldiers surrounded the house, his father opened the door and the troops gathered the family into one room. They singled Adnan out, took him outside, handcuffed and blindfolded him then took him away. He is awaiting trail in the Ofer military detention centre.
Adnan had been active in the demonstrations that occur weekly in Beit Sira to protest against the apartheid wall and the continuing annexation of Palestinian land.
An Israeli military court ruled that Adnan be held until the end of the proceedings against him. Attorney Gabi Laski appealed to the court pointing out that Adnan acted in self-defence, that he did not try to deny this in his integration instead saying: ‘I bit him. Hard!’ Nor did he try to escape arrest. The military court then agreed to release Adnan on a 20,000 Shekel bail(US $4500). This sum is the equivalent of two years income for Adnan’s impoverished family. Both attorney Gabi Laski and the Military prosecutors appealed. Laski asked to reduce the sum the prosecutor asked to keep Adnan behind bars. The military judge rejected the prosecutor’s appeal and agreed to reduce the bail to 12,000 shekel (US $2700).
Like many other Palestinian towns and villages, Beit Sira has its share of the grotesque Israeli annexation barrier and is surrounded by isolating settlements - in this case the Makabim settlement. An ongoing expansion of land theft has resulted in thousands of olive trees being uprooted and huge areas of agricultural land being cut off from the village.
To make a donation see: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/donations/
Please send a note with your donation specifying the ISM Legal fund.
May 16th, 2006
The trial of Jonathan Pollak and Kobi Snitz has come to an end a year after the two were arrested at a demonstration against the wall in the West Bank village of Budrus.
Today, Tuesday, May 16th, Judge Alexander Ron of the Jerusalem Peace court declared the two Israeli activists from ‘Anarchists Against the Wall’ innocent of their rioting charge.
Judge Alexander agreed with defense attorney Gabi Laski that ‘if the court would attribute rioting to any person present at a demonstration where others break the law this would cause severe damage to the freedom to demonstrate.’ He added that ‘the freedom to demonstrate is, no doubt, a basic legal right of the first degree,’ even in the Occupied Territories. ‘The claim that the presence of the defendants at the demonstration, as a basis for their conviction, was rejected and despite the court’s expressed disapproval of participating in demonstrations where stones are thrown by others, ‘it is not possible to attribute to the defendants any concrete criminal offense.’
Interesting details regarding the Border Police tactics were made public during the trial. When police officer Yasmin Levi was asked during the trial if the border police use weapons on Palestinians that they would not use on Israelis, she said, ‘of course.’ Border Police officer Hassan Mada said that when there are Israelis in a Palestinian demonstration ‘we will remove the Israelis to get them out of the line of fire, so that we can take action against the Palestinians.’
Kobi Snitz stated, ‘in their testimonies the police reinforced what we already knew: when Palestinians demonstrate without Israeli activists support they are met with lethal repression.’
Judge Alexander criticized Border Police officer Yasmin Levi for changing her testimony. According to the Judge, Yasmin wrote an initial arrest report, but ‘after speaking to her friends ‘remembered’ to accuse the defendants of stone throwing and cursing;’ accusations she later dropped.
He adds, ‘if
her changing versions would not be enough to nullify her
Testimony, the fact that she apparently lied when questioned by the court would.’
Judge Alexander said, ‘it should be noted that Yasmin’s statements indicate previous knowledge of the defendants, and it seems [there are] personal grudges that she has against them from previous demonstrations! This also does not add to her credibility! Her testimony casts a shadow on the testimonies of all the other Border Police officers.’
Koby and Jonathan plan to file complaints against Yasmin Levi.
International Peace Activists Released From Hospital
for pictures see
May 14, 2006
The two international peace activists shot by the Israeli military at
Friday’s anti-wall demonstration in Bil’in have been discharged from hospital. Phillip Reiss from Australia was released today, and BJ Lund from Denmark, was released yesterday from the Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv. They are still recovering from their injuries and will meet with a lawyer later today to talk about the possibilities for suing the Israeli Military, after Israeli Border Police shot them in the head with rubber bullets at close range. Israeli Military regulations stipulate that rubber bullets should be shot at a distance of 40 meters, only at the legs or arms. Several Palestinians were also shot, beaten and tear-gassed on Friday.
BJ has a fracture in his jaw and is suffering from the painful swelling caused by the injury. He still has headaches and can’t chew. There is a lot of fluid and swelling in the jaw muscles which prevents him from opening his mouth. When he was shot he lost hearing in his ear for 10 seconds and now feels pressure in one ear.
‘I don’t remember getting hit; when I heard the shooting I just remember turning my head and falling,’ BJ said. ‘There was an explosion next to me and I put my hand on my ear and it was wet. I looked and there was blood all over it. I was stunned until someone grabbed me and just started running. I feel really lucky: if I hadn’t turned my head I could have lost all my teeth.’
Phil described himself as generally okay, despite a large lump on his head, headaches and exhaustion, the nausea and shooting pain has subsided. He was diagnosed with a sub-ural hematoma, swelling cuased by bleeding in the brain, and given 8 stitches for the gash near his temple. He has been prescribed anti-convulsive medication and after 6 weeks will have to return to the hospital for a CT scan. ‘I feel pretty lucky, I’ll tell you what.’ said Phil. ‘If I was Palestinian it would have been a lot worse ‘. The Israeli military often use rubber bullets when Israeli and international demonstrators are present and rubber coated steel bullets on Palestinians when they demonstrate on their own. Both Phil and BJ will have to return to hospital in a week for checkups.
‘I feel kind of strange because there is a lot of media attention and we were told that there would be an investigation by the Israeli police, but we are still waiting for them to contact us, and I am wondering if they are going to give us any attention,’ BJ reported. He added that in the hospital, ‘so many doctors wanted to talk politics with us, telling me I should go back to Denmark and work on social things instead of getting involved here.’
When asked how he felt about the soldiers that shot them, Phil responded, ‘I think they are a bunch of thugs and how they acted was very inappropriate, but I can’t say that I feel angry at them for shooting me.’ BJ also was not angry but thought that, ‘their response was unnecessary because it was a peaceful demonstration. I didn’t see the person who shot us, and I wonder how he can deal with this when he knows they hit someone in the head who wasn’t violent. I hope he didn’t feel good when he went to sleep that night. It is frightening - it just tells me how much more insane the situation is’.