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Israeli military court extends activist's detention

Oct. 28, 2011 3:57 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 29, 2011 4:51 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- An Israeli military judge on Tuesday indefinitely extended the detention of a protester from Bilin village near Ramallah, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee reported.

Israeli soldiers detained Ashraf Abu Rahmah on Oct. 21 at a weekly protest in Bilin. The demonstrations are held to protest Israel's construction of a separation wall through Bilin which confiscates villagers' land, on which a Jewish-only settlement has been built.

Abu Rahmah is charged with participating in an unauthorized procession and throwing stones, based on testimonies by two soldiers who claimed to have seen him from 150 meters, the committee says.

An employee of the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem and a lawyer, both present at Friday's protest, testified in court that Abu Rahmah did not throw any stones.

Israel's Ofer military court indefinitely extended Abu Rahmah's detention until the end of legal procedures, the committee said.

Bilin has been holding non-violent anti-wall demonstrations since 2005, and the village is known for its creative approach to protests.

Demonstrators have worn Santa Claus costumes, remade an Israeli cell phone commercial and dressed up as creatures from the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar who struggled against colonialism on another planet.

Israeli soldiers regularly use force to shut down the demonstrations using tear gas, sound bombs, rubber-coated steel bullets and at times, live ammunition.

In January, Abu Rahmah's sister Jawaher died after inhaling massive amounts of tear gas fired by Israeli troops at a demonstration in Bilin.

His brother Bassem was killed at a village protest in April 2009, when an Israeli soldier fired a high-velocity tear gas canister into his chest.

Abu Rahmah himself was shot in the foot by soldiers in neighboring village Nilin in July 2008, who had blindfolded him and tied his hands. A young girl from Nilin filmed the shooting.

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