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Palestinian protest organizer makes bail after year in prison

The Military Court of Appeals ruled that Bassem Tamimi, central organizer of popular demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, will be released on bail Tuesday night after more than a year in prison. The ruling may be a sign of his coming acquittal as Palestinian detainees almost never make bail.

Tamimi is one of the central figures in the popular struggle against the settlements’ land theft in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, and a symbol of the non-violent resistance to the occupation on the whole. Following an arrest in his home on March 24 2011, the military court ruled that Tamimi will stay in prison until the end of legal proceedings against him, no matter how long these take. This is a standard procedure with Palestinians as military courts argue that re-apprehension on the event of flight would be extremely difficult, and therefore usually deny bail.

Tamimi declared that he does not recognize the court of the occupier, branding it anti-democratic, and reaffirming his commitment to the non-violent struggle. As his trial unfolded, it became clear that the prosecution’s whole case against Tamimi – who is charged with inciting the village’s youth to hurl stones at soldiers – is based on the testimonies of two teenagers, snatched from their beds in the dead of night, and interrogated without the presence of an adult or without being told of their right to remain silent.

Bassem Tamimi and his wife, Neriman, after release from prison (Keren Manor / Activestills)

Bassem Tamimi and his wife, Neriman, after release from prison (Keren Manor / Activestills)

Recently the court decided Tamimi could be released on bail. The military prosecution appealed the decision, but was today denied, and Tamimi was freed Tuesday evening after friends deposited bail, and he himself was told not to leave the Ramallah area.

This might be a sign that the court is either considering acquitting Tamimi in the next trial session, planned for May 15, or that the judges believe he will not get a sentence higher than 13 months. The convication rate of Palestinians in Israeli military prisons, by the way, is 99.74 percent. About two weeks ago, Tamimi was released for 48 hours to visit his mother in hospital. His return from this short vacation might also have influenced the court’s decision.

Read Also:
Protest organizer to military court: We fight for freedom & dignity
Palestinian protest organizer stands no chance in army court

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    1. Another crack in the wall, evidence that military command is not always uncaring. It might also be evidence (perhaps more of a hope) that those deciding see Socratic acceptance of the law (returning after a brief furlough) as something not to be quashed.
      .
      A lot of this man’s life has been spent trapped. Nonviolence is no game.

      Reply to Comment
    2. annie

      i love Bassem Tamimi, i cannot help but love him. thank you for the post because i had not heard.
      greg, what are you crazy? how does holding an innocent man in jail deprived of his loved ones for a year represent “evidence that military command is not always uncaring”?????
      with a 99.74% rate of convictions? the military courts do come under purview of the military justice system/command do they not?
      if they cared they could demonstrate it by ceasing their abhorrent night raids/arrests of innocent activists.

      Reply to Comment