South African human rights defender and anti-apartheid activist, Ghadija Vallie, shares the lessons learned from resistance in apartheid South Africa, particularly involving political prisoners.
Rights and Accountability
More than 30 nationwide chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine, along with interfaith activist communities, decry the convictions of the Irvine 11 while pledging to stand in firm solidarity with the students — and protesters everywhere who stand up against Israeli policies.
Guilty verdicts but no jailtime for the Irvine 11 defendants, as the presiding judge acknowledges that they were motivated by their beliefs. Attorneys say they will appeal — as high as the Supreme Court — to protect free speech and the right to dissent in the US.
Ten University of California students were today found guilty of on charges of “conspiracy” and “disrupting” a public meeting for a February 2010 protest against Israeli ambassdor Michael Oren. The Irvine 11 case (there were originally 11 defendants) became a test of the limits of freedom of speech. The Electronic Intifada’s Nora Barrows-Friedman has been in court for much of the trial and providing full coverage.
Defense attorneys tell the jurors in the Irvine 11 case that they “stand between democracy and creeping fascism,” and should find the students not guilty of criminal charges for their nonviolent protest which was protected under the right to free speech.
The prosecution claims that the Irvine 11 students unlawfully conspired to “censor” Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, while the defense argues that the students were in their full constitutional rights to exercise free speech.
The defense rests following the conclusion of testimonies and evidence in the Irvine 11 free speech trial. The closing arguments — and a verdict — are anticipated for Monday.
Amnesty International is calling for urgent action after an Israeli military commander renewed the administrative detention order against Ahmad Qatamesh by another six months last week.
Attorneys for the Irvine 11 attempt to bring evidence of an Israeli official’s plans to attend an LA Lakers game into the courtroom — blowing a hole in the prosecution’s claims that he had to cut short his speech due to protests — but the judge has refused to let the jury see the photograph.
While world attention remains focused on whether or not the UN will admit as a full member a nonexistent Palestinian state, Israeli occupation forces are escalating their very real demolitions of Palestinian homes and infrastructure in the occupied West Bank. On 8 September, Chris Gunness, spokesman for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine Refugees, stated: