Ahmed Atatreh was released from Ofer Military Court today. He was forced to pay 5000NIS and remain in his house bar attendance at University pending the end of his case. He is due back in Salem Military Court on 27 February and will be subject to these draconian restrictions despite not being charged with any offense.
Ahmed was arrested in the Jordan Valley on 18 January while peacefully demonstrating against Israeli Apartheid. On 29 January Ahmed appeared before Salem Military Court where the Judge refused to release him and Ahmed received very rough treatment. When internationals from the International Solidarity Movement, who were present in the Court, tried to intervene to prevent his harsh treatment, they were arrested. One of the activists has been deported while the other was later released.
In a report published in December 2013 by Palestinian human rights group Addameer, Addameer states:
Charges against Palestinians are very often inflated and arbitrary. In the Israeli military courts, if a defendant is accused, for instance, of throwing a stone at a tank, or firing a gun a kilometer away from a soldier, he will be charged with “trying to kill.” It is up to the defendant to demonstrate that his act could not have harmed the soldier and therefore did not amount to “attempted murder.” In cases of Palestinians arrested near the Wall, charges are regularly exaggerated and sometimes even fabricated.
At the trial stage, the military courts take the charges against Palestinians at face value, ignoring any legal requirement to demonstrate guilt or to define exactly how the charge is proportionate to the act committed. This makes it much more likely for Palestinians to be sentenced, even though the threshold of evidence is very low.
As the report states Palestinian advocates are often forced to negotiate a lesser charge, despite no evidence, as guilt is already presumed. Addameer states that those that are charged, and do not agree plea bargains, the conviction rate is 99.7%. For Addameer’s full report please click here.
SFP will continue to support all Palestinian prisoners and kindly asks our friends to keep writing to their respective representatives demanding the release of all Palestinian prisoners.