Ashton concerned by Palestinian conviction

Baroness Ashton has criticised an Israeli court ruling convicting a Palestinian activist of demonstrating illegally.

Abdullah Abu Rahmeh has not yet been sentenced but could face two years in jail after a military court convicted him of incitement.

The teacher, 39, staged weekly protests against the West Bank security fence, leading marches from the West bank village of Bilin to the barrier. Israel said he did not have the necessary license for this.

Lady Ashton, the EU High Representative, released a statement expressing her concern about the decision, which she said was aimed at preventing legitimate and non-violent protests against Israel.

But Yigal Palmor, from Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said her interference with a transparent legal procedure was “highly improper."

Mr Rahmeh is expected to appeal against the ruling.

Last updated: 2:08pm, August 27 2010