Israel: Refuser Hallel Rabin imprisoned again

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Hallel Rabin

Israeli conscientious objector Hallel Rabin, 19, was imprisoned again last week, following her refusal to serve in the military. This is Hallel's fourth imprisonment and she was sentenced to more 10 days in military prison. Hallel has already spent 40 days behind the bars in three separate terms.

Rabin was first imprisoned in August after appearing before the military’s conscience committee to appeal for a conscience-based exemption. She was tried and sentenced to 15 days in military prison in two separate terms, including during Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year’s holiday. Rabin’s appeal to the military’s conscience committee is still pending. 

While Hallel remains in prison, activists of Mesarvot, solidarity network of Israeli conscientious objectors opposing the occupation, held demonstrations calling for her release. On 31st October, dozens gathered next to the remote prison camp she was being held. Activists shouted and chanted support messages that were heard from inside the jail. The military prison's administration considered the protest as "a security threat" and threatened to move Hallel to a different compound for no apparent reason. In response, the activists didn't back and continued to organise solidatrity for Hallel through media and legal pressure.

There has also been growing international support for Hallel. On 22nd October, War Resisters' International released an urgent call for support for Hallel, responded by hundreds of people from across the world. In response to WRI's call, hundreds of protest emails were delivered to the Israeli Defence Minister Benjamin Gantz. There was also a demonstration held in Athens, Greece by Amnesty International Greece in support of Hallel.

Prior to her trial and imprisonment Hallel stated: " My connection to the outside world is only through phone calls with my parents and meetings with my lawyer. I was moved and excited by the enormous wave of international solidarity I received - If I could, I would thank each one of you personally. But the Israeli military forbids any direct contact with the media, diplomats or other supporters, trying to isolate me.  I hope to receive my exemption through the conscience committee, but if that won’t happen, I’m willing to stay in jail for as long as it takes until justice is done." Hallel was also able to record a short refusal statement that was translated to English and published on Youtube. You can watch it here.

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