December 21, 2009

Israel Jails leading rights activist

Israel intensifies the assault on non-violent Palestinian resistance. Jamal Juma from Stop the Wall was arrested last week.

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Stop the Wall Campaign announced on Sunday that its coordinator, Jamal Juma, has been imprisoned by Israel since 16 December.

Juma’s arrest follows what activists say is a military-legal crackdown on popular expressions of rejection of Israeli occupation. Dozens of protest leaders, boycott campaigners, and other civil society advocates have been arrested in recent weeks.

The Ramallah-based Stop the Wall Campaign, a coordinating body for local anti-wall initiatives said in a statement “This latest arrest is yet another escalation of Israel's attack on Palestinian human rights defenders and clamp down on the right to freedom of expression and the right to association.”

According to the campaign, Israeli security summoned Juma for interrogation at midnight 15 December. After questioning he was brought to his home.

“Juma was handcuffed while soldiers searched his house for two hours as his wife and three young children looked on helplessly,” the anti-wall campaign said in a statement.

The soldiers told Juma’s wife “she would only see her husband again through a prisoner exchange.”

“Since then, Juma has been detained, and banned from speaking to a lawyer or his family, with no explanation for his arrest,” the organization added.

A prominent figure in Palestinian civil society Juma, 47, served as coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign since 2002 and helped found the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC).

In September, another well-known member of the Stop the Wall campaign, Mohammad Othman, was detained by Israeli forces at the Allenby border crossing upon returning to the West Bank from Norway where he met with the country’s Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen and other officials.

On 10 December Israeli soldiers seized Abdullah Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the anti-wall Popular Committee in the West Bank village of Bil’in, during a raid on his house.

Witnesses said that the Israeli military raided houses in Bil’in and another village, Nil’in, early on Saturday. Both villages hold weekly demonstrations against the construction of the separation wall on their land.

According to the Stop the Wall Campaign, Jamal Juma’s court date is set for Monday. (Ma'am News)

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