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Israel extends detention of anti-wall campaigner Juma

Dec. 21, 2009 9:20 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 23, 2009 8:11 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli judge extended the detention of Jamal Juma, the Palestinian anti-wall activist, during a hearing on Monday, a spokesman said.

Prosecutors demanded another 14 days of detention, but the judge ordered only four, according to Ghaith Hilal, a spokesperson for the Stop the Wall Campaign of which Juma is the coordinator.

But Hilal said, it was “very likely” that he would be held beyond the four days. Juma is being held in West Jerusalem’s Russian Compound prison on “suspicion of incitement,” he said.

Monday’s hearing, in the courthouse adjacent to the prison, was the first time Juma saw a lawyer since he was detained by Israeli forces on 16 December, Hilal said.

Juma is the latest of several high-profile figures from Palestinian civil society who have been jailed by Israel. Campaigners say Israel is using arrests to quash popular demonstrations, boycotts, and other means of civil opposition to the occupation.

In a statement on Sunday, the Stop the Wall Campaign called the arrest “yet another escalation of Israel's attack on Palestinian human rights defenders and clampdown on the right to freedom of expression and the right to association.”

In September, another well-known member of the Stop the Wall campaign, Mohammad Othman, was detained by Israeli forces at the Allenby border crossing upon returning to the West Bank from Norway.

On 10 December Israeli soldiers seized Abdullah Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the anti-wall Popular Committee in the West Bank village of Bil’in, during a raid on his house.
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