이스라엘에 구금돼 있던 팔레스타인 인권활동가 모하메드 오스만(Mohammed Othman)이 풀려났다. 앞서 석방된 야말 유마(Jamal Juma’)에 이어 두 번째로 풀려난 셈이다.
오스만은 작년 9월 이스라엘 경찰에 체포됐다. 이스라엘이 서안지구에 건설 중인 분리장벽이 팔레스타인 주민들에게 끼치는 영향에 대해 노르웨이에서 공개강연을 하고 돌아오는 길이었다.
그는 아무런 혐의도 없이 행정 구금돼 있었다. 이스라엘 돈으로 1만 셰켈, 즉 미화 2천7백 달러에 해당하는 보석금을 내고 1월13일에 석방되기 전까지 말이다.
그러나 이 마저도 완전한 석방은 아니다. 앞으로 그는 서안지구 밖으로 이동할 때 제한을 받게 된다. 또한 경찰이 소환을 요구할 시에는 언제라도 그에 응해야 한다.
국제앰네스티는 오스만의 석방을 환영하면서도, 이스라엘 당국의 이러한 불합리한 조치를 우려하고 있다. 더불어, 아직 압둘라 아부 라흐라(Abdallah Abu Rahma)가 풀려나지 못했다는 사실에 대해서도 계속 주시하고 있다.
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Second Palestinian activist freed by Israel
Amnesty International has welcomed the release from detention of Palestinian human rights activist Mohammed Othman – but is concerned that the Israeli authorities have imposed conditions which will prevent him exercising his human rights.
Mohammed Othman was arrested on 22 September 2009 when he returned from a visit to Norway where he spoke publicly about the adverse impact of the fence/wall that Israel is building on the territory of the occupied West Bank.
He was held without charge under an administrative detention order until his release on Wednesday after laying down a guarantee of 10,000 Israeli shekels (around US$2,700).
He is the second activist to be released by the Israeli authorities this week.
However, his liberty is conditional on him not travelling outside the West Bank for an unspecified length of time and reporting to the police immediately whenever they summon him for questioning.
“The conditions applied to Mohammed Othman’s release from detention appear intended to prevent or deter him from continuing to campaign against the construction of the fence/wall in the West Bank and exposing the impact it has on the lives of Palestinians living there,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.
“These conditions should be immediately rescinded.”
Mohammed Othman’s release follows that of Jamal Juma’, who was freed without conditions on Tuesday. A third human rights activist, Abdallah Abu Rahma, remains in detention.
Jamal Juma’, Mohammed Othman and Abdallah Abu Rahma have been campaigning against the West Bank fence/wall for years by raising awareness about its negative impact on Palestinians, organizing grassroots opposition and peacefully demonstrating against its construction.
The three have repeatedly expressed their commitment to the principle of non-violence and Amnesty International is unaware of any credible evidence that they have used or advocated violence.
Amnesty International continues to be concerned that Abdallah Abu Rahma is being detained solely on account of legitimately exercising his right to freedom of expression in opposing the Israeli fence/wall.
If this is the case, he is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately and unconditionally. Otherwise he should be brought to trial on recognizable criminal charges and in full conformity with international fair trial standards.