The Elders condemn Israeli military efforts to keep prominent Palestinian activist in jail

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Monday, 6 December, 2010
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With non-violent Palestinian activist Abdallah Abu Rahmah facing a possible extension of his prison sentence, The Elders - who met Abu Rahmah during their last visit to the region - call on the Israeli authorities to release him immediately, without conditions.

The Elders today called on Israel's Military Court of Appeals to immediately release Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a Palestinian leader of non-violent resistance in the West Bank.

Abu Rahmah's case returns to court today (Monday) when Israeli military prosecutors will appeal against his release from prison and try to extend his sentence. Abu Rahmah was due for release on 18 November.

Members of The Elders met Abu Rahmah last year in the West Bank village of Bil'in where he has played a leading role in weekly protests against the occupation and settlements.

Desmond Tutu, Ela Bhatt, Gro Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson were impressed by Abu Rahmah and praised his wise leadership of effective, non-violent civil action.

Jimmy Carter 

Jimmy Carter said: “Israeli military prosecutors want to extend Abdallah Abu Rahmah's sentence as a deterrent to others who may follow his example. The Elders believe that his example of non-violent resistance against the occupation is a model that others should follow.”

Desmond Tutu 

Desmond Tutu said that Abu Rahmah's trial and conviction this year was “an unacceptable and unjust attempt to criminalise legitimate peaceful resistance” and urged his “immediate and unconditional release.”

Abu Rahmah has served twelve months imprisonment for incitement and organising illegal demonstrations. He was cleared of two further charges of stone-throwing and arms possession. The 'arms' he had collected were spent tear-gas canisters and bullet casings used by the Israeli armed forces against him and his fellow demonstrators.

The Elders have warned in the past that efforts to stifle peaceful protest will not serve the cause of peace, and that Abu Rahmah and his fellow activists deserve full support.

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