UPDATE: Abu Rahma’s sentencing has been postponed until 23 February. Please continue to take the action below:
On Sunday, February 8, Palestinian human rights defender Abdallah Abu Rahma, coordinator of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall, will face sentencing for “disturbing a soldier;” he was convicted by an Israeli military court on October 21, 2014 of this charge for participating in a mass demonstration in support of Palestinian political prisoners in 2012. “Demonstrating against the occupation cannot be a criminal offence. Finding Abdallah guilty only shows that the [Israeli] military court is a tool to perpetuate the occupation,” stated Gabi Lasky, Abu Rahma’s lawyer. Take Action: Sign this online petition demanding freedom for Abu Rahma.
Petition text below:
Abdallah Abu Rahma, 44, is due to be sentenced on February 8th for exercising his legitimate right to protest in a nonviolent manner against the human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by the State of Israel on the occupied Palestinian territories.
Frank La Rue (former Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression) following his visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in December 2011,highlighted that the Israeli Military Order 101 is used by the IDF to “restrict Palestinians’ rights to freedom of expression and assembly”.
As explained by La Rue, the order “criminalises political expression and activities, including organising and participating in protests; taking part in assemblies or vigils; holding, waving or displaying flags or other political symbols; and printing and distributing any material ‘’having a political significance’’. Any breach of the order is punishable by 10 years of imprisonment and/or fine. The Israeli Military Code applied in the West Bank is used against civilians as a way of repression against Human Rights Defenders. The Military Courts are just a tool of the Israeli occupation to smash the Palestinian popular Struggle. The right to peaceful assembly is recognised in Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Israel is a signatory, as well as in Articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms , despite not legally being binding documents for the states, provide to the International community a moral obligation to offer support and protection to human rights defenders in the context of their work.
However, the UN guidelines contains a series of principles and rights that are based on human rights standards enshrined in other international instruments that are legally binding – such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, from which Israel is a signatory member. Moreover, the Declaration was adopted by consensus by the General Assembly and therefore represents a very strong commitment by States to its implementation.
For all the above mentioned reasons, appealing to the obligation to protect and promote human rights, the undersigned hereby request the acquittal of Abdallah Abu Rahma on all charges and urges the Israeli Government to fulfill his obligations, respecting International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, ensuring protection of Human Rights and its defenders.
Statements of support for Abdallah Abu Rahma:
- Amnesty International- http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/040/2014/en
- Frontline Defenders- https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/27861
- Catherine Ashton, Spokesperson of High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy-