One week ago on Friday, October 21st, during the weekly demonstration in our village of Bil'in, Israeli soldiers arrested Ashraf Abu Rahmah yet again. Help us secure his release, demand justice for Ashraf.
On an average Friday morning, no demonstration would begin without Ashraf Abu Rahmah walking at its front, holding the Palestinian flag. Usually, Ashraf would also be the last to walk back home. That is, if he is not injured or arrested.
This week, demonstrators marched on as usual to demand the dismantling of the Wall, but Ashraf was not among us. One day before, on Thursday, October 27th, a military judge decide to extend Ashraf's arrest indefinitely, for the duration of the legal proceedings against him, despite the overwhelming evidence pointing to his innocence.
The judge ordered the extension of Ashraf's arrest despite extensive evidence brought up by the defense to dispute the charges. The court was presented with two affidavits from a B'Tselem employee and a lawyer who were both present at the scene. The depositions stated that Ashraf did not at any stage partake in stone-throwing. Footage supporting the affidavits was also filed, showing Ashraf's arrest. The video depicts him walking peacefully towards the jeeps holding a flag, and the soldiers initially ignoring him.
Ashraf Abu Rahmah is the brother of two Bil'in residents who were killed while participating in the village's demonstrations. His brother, Bassem, was shot dead during a peaceful protest on April 17th, 2009, when soldiers fired a high-velocity tear-gas projectile directly at him from a distance of about 40 meters. Ashraf's sister, Jawaher, died of cardiac arrest caused by poisoning, as a result of inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas on January 1st, 2011.
Ashraf himself was the subject of gross military misconduct. On July 7th, 2008 in the entrance to the West Bank village of Ni’lin, soldiers shot Ashraf in the foot at close range while he was bound and blindfolded. The event was caught on tape, and caused vast international outrage. Due to the concern raised by people like you, Israeli authorities were eventually pressured to bring about an indictment of the shooting soldier and Lt. Col. Omri Borberg who ordered the shooting, and convict them both. Given the context and lack of evidence, Ashraf's arrest and continued detention suggest that Israeli authorities are unjustly persecuting him for past events.