Dora McPhee (VIC) writes to FM Kevin Rudd MP re Australia to press for Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s release 8Oct10 October 9, 2010

Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs

October 8, 2010

Dear Mr Rudd,

I write because I have learned that an Israeli military court has recently
handed down an outrageous conviction in the important case of Palestinian
grassroots activist Abdallah Abu Rahmah from Bilin.

Abu Rahmah was convicted of incitement, organizing illegal marches. The
conviction concluded an eight months long politically-motivated trial,
during which he was kept behind bars.

Persecuted for his key role in organizing the grassroots campaign against
the wall and Jewish-only settlement which colonizes Bilin’s land, Abdallah
was convicted based only on the forced testimonies of minors who were
arrested from their beds at the middle of the night – not a single piece of
material evidence was presented during the entire trial.

The West Bank village of Bilin, just like Abu Rahmah, has become a symbol of
peaceful, unarmed Palestinian resistance to the occupation, which is a
growing movement in the occupied Palestinian territory. Israel’s attempts to
crack down on this movement and its symbols is dangerous and unjust.

In the interests of justice, I cannot sit idly by as Abu Rahmah and his
fellow villagers are denied even the basic right to protest the illegal
theft of their land. Being tried in a military rather than a civilian court
where the system of justice is clearly slanted to favour the occupying power
when you are being driven off your land by a state that refuses to recognize
your rights under international law does not strike me as justice at all.

Abu Rahmah is expected to be sentenced in only a few weeks. As Australia’s
new foreign minister, I implore you to submit an official letter of inquiry
about Abu Rahmah’s conviction and to demand his release now, before he is
sentenced to a long period of imprisonment.

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