Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Free Mohammad Othman: BDS movement has its first prisoner of conscience

The following is from the Stop the Wall campaign: Free Mohammad Othman Now! Latest News, Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, September 24th, 2009 On September 22, Mohammad Othman was arrested by soldiers on the Allenby Bridge Crossing, the border from Jordan to Palestine. He is now being held in Huwara prison as a prisoner of conscience, arrested solely for his human rights work.
Mohammad, 33 years old, has dedicated the last ten years of his life to the defense of Palestinian human rights. He has campaigned with the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign against the dispossession of Palestinian farmers and against the involvement of Israeli and international business in the violations of Palestinian human rights. His village, Jayyous, has been devastated by the Apartheid Wall and Zufim – a settlement, built by Lev Leviev's companies. These companies are facing a successful boycott campaign because of their violations of Palestinian rights. Mohammad was returning from one of his trip to Norway, during which he met with senior officials, including Norwegian Finance Minister Kristen Halvorsen. Norway’s national Pension Fund recently announced that it had divested from Elbit, the Israeli company which provides both Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and other military technology for Occupation forces, as well as security systems for the Wall and settlements. This is not the first time Palestinian human rights defenders have been arrested after trips abroad. Recently, Muhammad Srour, an eye witness at the UN Fact Finding Mission on Gaza, was arrested on his way back from Geneva. This arrest was a clear act of reprisal against Srour for speaking out about Israel’s violations of international law. Arresting Palestinians as they return from travel is yet another Israeli tactic to try to silence Palestinian human rights defenders. It complements the overall policy of isolation of the Palestinian people behind checkpoints, walls and razor wire. Click here to find out how to take action! To stay updated on Omar's case, visit the Free Mohammad Othman blog. For U.S.-specific action, see this website that has been set up by US Campaign member group Grassroots International.