48 hrs of protest against Israeli violations of human rights across the globe
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48 hrs of protest against Israeli violations of human rights across the globe

On 16 and 17 October 2009, a 48 hour BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) marathon was held in cities across the globe. The marathon was organized to draw attention and international solidarity to the case of Mohammad Othman and oppose the Israeli crack down on human rights defenders and activists. [Click to see the photo story on Flickr]

Mohammad Othman, aged 33, was arrested on 22 September 2009 at the border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. Mohammad was returning from an advocacy tour in Norway where he often meets with high level Norwegian officials and civil society organizations to raise awareness of Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory. He further welcomed Norwegian action to hold Israel accountable through divesting from Elbit, the Israeli company which provides drones and other military technology to the Israeli military and security systems for the Wall and settlements. Mohammed, a prisoner of conscience, is currently being held in solitary confinement in prison, without charges. His next hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday 19 October.

Mohammad’s arrest adds to the growing number of Palestinian human rights defenders – especially anti-Wall activists that have been detained by the Israeli authorities in recent months. The arbitrary nature of Mohammad’s arrest and detention, the crack down on those who exercise their rights to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the conditions of Mohammad’s detention and the detention of other Palestinian activists violate internationally recognised standards on human rights, codified in legal binding treaties which have been ratified by the State of Israel, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The global BDS marathon saw more than 20 activities held on four continents of the globe, a testimony to the international solidarity that Mohammad’s case has received and a world increasingly less willing to stand by in silence whilst Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights continue.

Activities included:

· A speaking event by author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners Guide’, Ben White in Ottawa, Canada

· A radio show throughout Greece discussing the BDS movement, Mohammad’s case and Palestine

· A protest march to the Parliament in Norway

· An awareness raising rally in Osaka, Japan

· A seminar on BDS in Johannesburg, South Africa

· A demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in London, UK

· A mass march and rally in San Francisco, USA

· Ahava boycott action in Washington DC, USA

· Street protest in front of Leviev’s New York City store, USA

· Protests in Nil’in and Bil’in, Palestine

Ongoing initiatives in support of Mohammad Othman include an online petition calling upon EU member States to raise Mohammad’s case with the Israeli authorities and support justice for Palestinian prisoners which has gathered almost 5,000 signatures so far.

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