Monday, December 19, 2011

Mohammed Khatib: On my release from jail

 Dear friends,
please find below a statement which has been released by Mohammed Khatib on his arrested and detention by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Mohammed was arrested with 22 other activists, including Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals on Friday 16 December when they attended Mustafa Tamimi's funeral in Nabi Saleh.  Israeli Occupation Forces attacked mourners at the conclusion of the funeral when they attempted to peacefully march to land belonging to the village.

Mohammed is a leading member of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and has played an active part in linking-up the non-violent struggles being carried out by villages throughout the Occupied West Bank.

For more information on the struggle of Bil'in village, you can visit their solidarity website here.

As Mohammed notes in his statement, Mohammed Tamimi, a young activists from Nabi Saleh was arrested at the same time he was but has not been released from prison yet.

In solidarity,

BBC's video report on the demonstration

 Mohammed Khatib being arrested in the wake of Mustafa Tamimi's funeral on 16 December 2011

Dear friend,
I have just been released from jail, after three days inside. I was arrested last Friday, together with 22 others, in the village of Nabi Saleh, during a demonstration commemorating the murder of Mustafa Tamimi. Our arrest took place as we peacefully protested near the entrance to the Jewish-only settlement of Halamish, which is built on lands stolen from Nabi Saleh.

Minutes after we got to the gate, Israeli Border Police officers moved in to remove us from the scene. Palestinians, Israeli and international activists, we were all shackled and dragged away into military jeeps that transported us to the adjacent military base, which is in fact part of the settlement. 

In the military base, still shackled, I was assaulted by a settler who hit me in the face, leaving me with a bloody nose. Shortly after, the settler also attacked a female Israeli activist who was by my side. The soldiers and policemen present did not prevent the attack, nor did they bother to detain the settler after the fact. Instead, the zip-tie locks on my hands were removed, only for my arms to be bound again, this time behind my back.
Hours later, at the police station, I learned that to cover up their responsibility for my attack, the soldiers have laid a bogus complaint against me for assaulting them. My hands were tied, my face was bleeding, but it was I who spent the night in the inside of prison cell.

Mohammed Tamimi from Nabi Saleh was also arrested during that same demonstration. While the police decided to release all the others, he and I were to remain in jail. During our demonstrations, soldiers often take pictures, to later use them as "incriminating evidence". This time, the soldiers used one such picture to accuse Mohammed of throwing stones during a demonstration a few weeks or months back. The man pictured in that photograph is not Mohammed Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, regardless, he remains in jail. Military law allows Israel to keep us Palestinians in jail for eight days before seeing a judge, and even then, it is a soldier in uniform who is the so called neutral arbitrator.

As the prison doors closed behind me, my happiness was clouded by the fact that Mohammed Tamimi was not released. The battle for his freedom is only beginning, as our lawyers prepare the petition for his release. If you can, please help us fund legal aid for him and for the countless others who are regularly arrested protesting Israeli Occupation.
I would also like to use this letter to extend my gratitude to Ayala Shani, an Israeli comrade who was arrested with me. She refused the injustice of being released while both me and Mohammed Tamimi were still detained. As these words are written, she is still in jail, despite having been offered her freedom twice already by Israeli courts.

Mohammed Khatib

Mohammed Khatib arrested by IOF - 16 Dec 2011

Mohammed Tamimi being arrested by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) - 16 Dec 2011

 Mohammed Tamimi and Israeli activists arrested by IOF - 16 Dec 2011
 Mohammed Tamimi and Israeli activists arrested by IOF - 16 Dec 2011

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