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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

EU lies in defending "human rights defender" Bassam Tamimi

From an EU press release:

Statement by the Spokesperson of High Representative Catherine Ashton on the case of Bassem Tamimi 

The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:

"The High Representative is very concerned by the conviction of Bassem Tamimi in an Israeli military court on 20 May 2012 on charges of taking part in illegal demonstrations and of soliciting protesters to throw stones. 


The EU considers Bassem Tamimi to be a 'human rights defender' committed to non-violent protest against the expansion of an Israeli settlement on lands belonging to his West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. The EU attended all court hearings in his case and is concerned at the use of evidence based on the testimony of a minor who was interrogated in violation of his rights. 


The EU believes that everyone should be able to exercise their legitimate right to protest in a nonviolent manner." 
The EU is not saying that Tamimi was not inciting stone-throwing. They do not deny that the protest that he organized included stone throwing. So it may appear that the EU regards throwing stones as "non-violent protest."

The EU statement strongly implies that the evidence that he was behind the stone throwing came from a minor under interrogation, and therefore there is no real evidence that he directed the attacks. Since the evidence came under questionable circumstances, Ashton says, it should not have been used to convict Tamimi.

The EU is lying.

From WaPo:
The military judge in al-Tamimi’s case said Sunday she dropped more serious charges of incitement and support for a hostile organization that were based from the confessions of a 14-year-old, saying it was riddled with inconsistencies. She also did not use the confession of a young adult, saying interrogators misrepresented what he actually said.
The judge effectively threw out the testimonies from the minor as well as a young adult, dismissed charges based on their testimony - and still convicted Tamimi of inciting stone throwers. In other words, there was other, independent evidence that Tamimi is guilty of inciting violence - but the EU (and Amnesty International) is purposefully ignoring that other evidence, which it must have heard since it says it attended all the hearings!

Either the judge arbitrarily chose to convict Tamimi based on zero evidence (after showing her integrity by chiding the prosecution for pushing a confession and testimony that she said was not credible), or the EU is going out of its way to demonize Israel's military justice system by picking and choosing facts to imply that Bassam Tamimi is a "human rights activist."

There is one other possibility. Perhaps the EU doesn't consider the intended victims of the stones to be "human."

Interestingly, the minor whose testimony was thrown out was Muatassim al-Tamimi, a relative of Bassam Tamimi's. He was caught throwing stones. If Tamimi is such a human rights defender and against violence, he apparently cannot even influence his own family.

By the way, Amnesty International also calls Tamimi a "prisoner of conscience" and wholeheartedly believes everything he and his family says. This includes something that is almost certainly a baldfaced lie, as well as obvious evidence that Amnesty is anything but objective:
I first met Bassem when I went to interview Nariman and two of her sisters who had been arrested and detained on the same day in 2010.

Sitting in the family’s home, amidst shattered windows, the curtains burned from tear gas shot by the Israeli army into the house, I’d finished my interview when Bassem came in.
I find it very hard to believe that the IDF would shoot tear gas into a house. Almost certainly that is directly against IDF directives, so I will venture to say that the Tamimi family is lying and that Amnesty will believe anything they are told as long as it fits with their already-preconceived notions.