Free Tali Fahima!
On Sunday December 26, 2004, Tali Fahima was indicted in a Tel Aviv District Court on the following charges:
?Assisting an enemy in wartime; passing information to the enemy and for the latter?s benefit, contact with a foreign agent, illegal handling of a weapon, supporting a terrorist organization, and violating a legal order.?
These menacing charges, which if ?proven? can lead to a sentence of years in prison, are based on the suspicion that Tali translated and explained the contents of an IDF document to activists with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs? Brigades in Jenin Refugee Camp. The document, left behind by the IDF after a military incursion into the camp, detailed an operation aimed at arresting and/or killing the ?wanted? men named in it. ?In light of the defendant?s explanations,? the indictment reads, ?Zakariya Zubeidi [head of the Brigades in the camp] ordered the wanted men into hiding until the military operation ended? and the wanted men who followed Zubeidi?s orders were not arrested.? Other, somewhat less grave accusations in the indictment, charge Fahima with handling a rifle and shooting one shot, entering the Jenin area, and meeting with fighters in the camp.
One need not be a military expert to know that wanted men don?t need Tali Fahima to understand that the army is after them.
Tali Fahima, a 28 year old Israeli activist from Kiryat Gat [a so-called ?Development Town? in the northern Negev populated predominantly by North African Jews], was first arrested on her way to Jenin on August 9, 2004. She was interrogated for 28 days by the General Security Services (GSS or ?Shabak?), during which time she was sexually harassed, deprived of sleep, deprived of food, and cuffed too tightly. During this ?interrogation? the GSS officers tried to ?turn Tali into a good Jew? (in their words), to convince her there is no occupation, and refused to tell her what she is suspected of. After her interrogation failed to garner incriminating evidence that could stand up in a court of law, she was placed under administrative detention (arrest with no due process) for a period of four months. There, in a civilian women?s prison, she was subject to the abusive treatment of guards, who were the only people with whom she was allowed to have contact other than her mother and her lawyer. Kept in solitary confinement one out of the three months, she was denied cigarettes, shampoo, toothpaste, books, letters, etc. One month before her administrative detention was due to end she was transferred to GSS custody once more. Beginning on December 5, 2003, she spent three weeks in ?interrogation? during which time she was handcuffed to a chair, deprived of sleep, denied use of the toilet, and denied medical treatment. At the end of this ?interrogation,? Tali Fahima was indicted on the charges outlined above.
For the past five months various branches of the Israeli legal system have tried to create the impression in court and in the press that Tali Fahima seriously imperiled the security of the state by aiding in the planning of military operations and/or suicide bombings, and that she is a threat to public safety. Finally, after protracted arrest, charges have finally been pressed?charges that in no way stand up to the incitement and hysteria generated around her until now.
Tali Fahima is a political activist. Out of political and personal concern, she made contact with members of the Fatah Movement (Al-Aqsa Brigades) in the Jenin Refugee Camp following an IDF?s attempt to ?eliminate? Zakariya Zubeidi. Tali Fahima publicly announced in early 2004 that she is willing to serve as a human shield for Zubeidi in protest of Israel?s policy of extra-judicial killings. She visited the camp on several occasions, and in of May 2004 began working on a cultural-educational program (namely a library and computer facility) for the children of the camp?a project that was effectively derailed by her arrest. Tali Fahima?s activities in Jenin were open and transparent and much of it was documented by the Israeli press upon her own initiative.
Tali Fahima?s freedom has been compromised for months now because she has dared to make contact with Palestinians in an act of solidarity. Because she voiced her objection to the occupation loud and clear, and in so doing ?violated? the Israeli policy of forced separation between the peoples (which makes visiting Jenin an ?illegal? act). What is at stake are Tali Fahima?s basic civil rights: freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of association, etc. but our civil rights: by letting the Israeli authorities criminalize Tali Fahima, we are letting the Israeli authorities criminalize our objection to the occupation.
Free Tali Fahima!
What you can do:
The identification each and every one of us expresses with Tali Fahima, persecuted for objecting to the occupation, is of the utmost importance (remember Martin Niemoeller's message: ?First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a communist??). Please come to every court hearing and let Tali Fahima and the public know that you stand with her. For updated information, and to add your name to the mailing list, write: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tali Fahima?s legal defense requires a great deal of resources. Any contribution, no matter how modest, will be welcome. Please send checks to POBox 1335, Kfar Saba, 44113. Israel. Or transfer funds directly to HaPoalim Bank, Account Number 119442, Branch 679 (paid to the order of ?mate hakoalitzia?). Please note that the funds are earmarked for Tali Fahima?s defense.
Tali would like to thank each and every one of you who has written to her. Your letters have reached her, except during the GSS interrogations, and they are very important to her because they are her sole contact with the outside world other than her attorney and her mother, whom she is allowed to see once every two weeks. Tali prefers not to write back from prison (since her letters are read by the prison authorities, censored, and at times never sent), and has asked people to continue writing to her despite her lack of response. Her mailing address is: Neve Tirza Prison, POBox 297, Ramleh, 72100, Israel.
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