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Sentence handed down to indigenous human rights defenders from the Bedouin community

الحالة: 
Sentenced
About the situation

On 21 September 2020, the Beersheba Magistrate's Court handed down suspended sentences and a 5 000 EUR fine to human rights defenders Aziz Abu Madhi’m, Saleem Abu Madhi’m and Sheikh Sayah Abu Madhi’m. The human rights defenders were convicted of “trespassing with intent to commit an offence”, “breaching legal orders” and “unlawful entry into public land”.

 

About Saleem Abu Madhi’m

Saleem Abu Madhi’mSaleem Abu Madhi’m is an indigenous human rights defender from the Bedouin minority in Israel. He is among the few who remained in Al-Aragib, a village that is not recognised by the Israeli authorities despite its establishment preceding that of the State of Israel. The authorities, which consider it to be built on state land, demolished the village for the first time in 2010. The human rights defenders’ work primarily focuses on Bedouin land rights. He organises weekly peaceful demonstrations to protest against state policies which undermine Bedouin rights, particularly in relation to land.

25 سِبْتَمْبِر / أيلول 2020
Sentence handed down to indigenous human rights defenders from the Bedouin community

On 21 September 2020, the Beersheba Magistrate's Court handed down suspended sentences and a 5 000 EUR fine to human rights defenders Aziz Abu Madhi’m, Saleem Abu Madhi’m and Sheikh Sayah Abu Madhi’m. The human rights defenders were convicted of “trespassing with intent to commit an offence”, “breaching legal orders” and “unlawful entry into public land”.

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Aziz, Saleem and Sheikh Sayah Abu Madhi’m are indigenous human rights defenders from the Bedouin minority in Israel. They are among the few who remained in Al-Aragib, a village that is not recognised by the Israeli authorities despite its establishment preceding that of the State of Israel. The authorities, which consider it to be built on state land, demolished the village for the first time in 2010. The human rights defenders’ work primarily focuses on Bedouin land rights. They organise weekly peaceful demonstrations to protest against state policies which undermine Bedouin rights, particularly in relation to land.

On 21 September 2020, the Beersheba Magistrate's Court sentenced human rights defender Aziz Abu Mahi’m to six months imprisonment, and human rights defender Saleem Abu Madhi’m to three months. Their father, human rights defender Sheikh Sayah Abu Madhi’m, who suffers from poor health, was sentenced to three months of community service. The human rights defenders were convicted of “trespassing with intent to commit an offence”, “breaching legal orders” and “unlawful entry onto public land” for continuing to reside at the village. The Court accepted their lawyer’s request to suspend the execution of the sentence upon the payment of a guarantee to the court equivalent to 5 000 EUR. The court banned the human rights defenders from returning to their village. They are currently living in an area with no shelter, a few kilometres away from the village.

Human rights defenders from the unrecognised Bedouin village of Al-Aragib have been frequently harassed by the Israeli police. The village, which has been rebuilt and demolished on a number of occasions since 2010, has also been the subject of multiple police raids. Bedouin human rights defenders have been detained and interrogated several times during the past few years, and several cases have been opened against them challenging their presence in their village and their peaceful defence of land rights. In addition, police have facilitated the entry of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) into the village, who have been surveying the area and uprooting Palestinian olive trees and replacing them with Israeli saplings. JNF is a Zionist organisation that promotes the construction of Israeli settlements in the Negev region in the south of Israel.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the continued harassment of indigenous human rights defenders from the Bedouin community. It believes that Aziz Abu Madhi’m, Saleem Abu Madhi’m and Sheikh Sayah Abu Madhi’m are being criminalised solely for their peaceful and legitimate human rights work.