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News :: Human Rights
In Catch 22 Ruling, Israeli Judge Silences Jewish American Activist
17 Jan 2005
An Israeli judge today refused to hear US Jewish lesbian activist
Kate Raphael Bender's appeal of her deportation. Judge Tal said he
could not hear Raphael Bender's case because her visa was no longer
valid. Her visa expired yesterday, after five weeks in detention. 
Nonetheless, in a minor procedural victory, the judge ruled that
Raphael Bender's appeal of her deportation would remain undecided,
allowing her the possibility to return at a later time and reopen
the appeal.
An Israeli judge today refused to hear US Jewish lesbian activist
Kate Raphael Bender's appeal of her deportation. Judge Tal said he
could not hear Raphael Bender's case because her visa was no longer
valid. Her visa expired yesterday, after five weeks in detention. 
Nonetheless, in a minor procedural victory, the judge ruled that
Raphael Bender's appeal of her deportation would remain undecided,
allowing her the possibility to return at a later time and reopen
the appeal.

Commenting on the ruling, Raphael Bender said, "To lock up a non-
violent human rights activist until the day her visa has expired,
deny her request to move the hearing so she would have time left on
her visa, and then say she has no right to appeal because her visa
has lapsed is conduct we would expect from a totalitarian regime,
not a country which wants to be called a democracy. In violation of
international law, Israeli courts have also sanctioned the
construction of Israeli settlements and the segregation wall on
Palestinian land, the demolition of Palestinian homes, the killing
of Palestinian civilians and the detention without charge of
thousands of Palestinian political prisoners. The judge's decision
was a clear effort to silence dissent and avoid hearing arguments
against the wall and Israel's violations of international law."
Raphael Bender was arrested at a peaceful protest against Israel's
segregation wall on December 14 in the West Bank village of Bil'in.
She was videotaping the beating of a Palestinian protester by
Israeli border police when she was arrested.  Her three month
tourist visa expired yesterday, January 15 2005.  She had petitioned
the court to have her hearing held on or before January 9, prior to
the expiration of her visa.

40 Israeli and international activists filled the court in support
of Raphael Bender.  After the hearing, Raphael Bender was forcibly
removed from the court by Israeli police as her supporters attempted
to say goodbye.  She expects to be deported in the coming days.


FOR MORE INFORMATION

Kate Raphael Bender: 972 (0)54-7870-198
International Women's Peace Service: 972 (0)9-2516-644 Mobile: 972(0)
54 694 0602/(0)54 691 6841
ISM Media: 972 (0)59-676-782 or 972(0)54-6253451
See also:
http://www.livejournal.com/users/masha_camp/
http://www.stopthewall.org.il

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