Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Palestinian activist to face apartheid court

I’ve been working with Mohammad Mansour a Palestinian activist in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) since I started work here a month ago. He is to face a trial tomorrow. If found guilty he could go to jail and quite possibly be tortured. What is his crime? He is an organiser in the non-violent resistance. He was charged with assaulting a soldier, throwing stones and encouraging kids to throw stones. But there is no evidence of this. He was at a demonstration with soldiers filming everything and taking high resolution photographs yet they have no evidence of this.

The main thing they are now trying to charge him with is being involved in an “illegal demonstration.” This so called “illegal” demonstration occurred in the occupied territories. Several times he has fronted to the Israeli Peace Court (actual name) in Jerusalem. Even just getting to court is a big deal because soldiers at Qalandiya checkpoint have tried turning him back from attending his own hearings in the past because he is a “security risk.”

Despite this every time he goes to court the prosecution tries to offer him a less unfair deal, with the judge encouraging him to accept a deal. He was offered to sign a piece of paper saying he wouldn’t be involved in any demonstrations for 2 years and he refused. The prosecution even offered to drop the entire court case if he paid a small amount of money and despite having the money he refused. He told me he “refuses to pay one shekel to support the occupation, my friend is in a wheel chair after being shot at a demonstration and I am not going to fund a bullet so they can do that to someone else. I also don’t want to pay because I’m not guilty.”

These words come from a man who is in his mid thirties, has 5 children and has been in jail before. His longest time in jail was 3 years and despite describing to me personal experiences more chilling then those of Abu Grab prisoners he is prepared to go back. Whilst some torture techniques were outlawed a few year ago, it is still legal to torture people and even those techniques that were banned are allowed to be reintroduced if they can prove the suspect is “a ticking time bomb”

Asking Monsour why he doesn’t just drop out of the movement he says, “It is my duty we are living under occupation and I want to be free, and I will tell you something else I and many of the Palestinians have promised ourselves when we get our freedom we will go and help other occupied people, wherever they are.”

[Picture of Mohammed Monsour being arrested note the angle that they have twisted his hand.]

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