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'Prisoner of conscience' released on bail

April 25, 2012 10:47 A.M. (Updated: April 28, 2012 3:18 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Non-violence activist Bassem Tamimi was released on bail late Tuesday after spending 13 months in prison, a popular committee said.

Tamimi, from Ramallah-district village Nabi Saleh, has been recognized as a human rights defender by the European Union and a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

He was detained by Israeli forces on March 24, 2011, and accused of organizing illegal demonstrations in the village, which holds weekly protests against seizure of their land by nearby Israeli settlement Halamish.

On Tuesday, an Israeli military court rejected the Military Prosecution's appeal against his release on bail, and released him on 12,000 shekel ($3,193) bail, the popular struggle coordination committee said.

Tamimi will not be able to return to his village, as bail conditions prescribe he remain inside the city of Ramallah, and he is under house arrest between Thursday and Sunday.

He will next appear in court on May 13, when the court will give its verdict on his case, committee spokesman Jonathan Pollack said.

Throughout his trial, Tamimi has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the military court system that rules over Palestinians in the West Bank, and Israeli regulations that deem any gathering of more than 10 people an illegal demonstration.

Since protests began in Nabi Saleh in December 2009, Israeli forces have detained more than 80 residents, around 10 percent of the entire village, according to the Popular Struggle Committee.

Two of Tamimi's sons have been injured by Israeli soldiers at protests, and his wife has been detained twice. Israeli's Civil Administration has ordered the demolition of Tamimi's home, which was built in 1965.
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