Acclaimed Palestinian photo-journalist, Hamde Abu Rahma has been denied a visa to the UK to tour Scotland, for the second time in a year, under the assumption by authorities that he might carry out ‘prohibited activities’.
28-year-old photographer, Hamde Abu Rahma was meant to tour Britain in June, where he was to exhibit his work around Scotland and share his experiences in occupied Palestine.
Abu Rahma, an outspoken critic of the violence he has witnessed in the occupied Palestinian territories was due to feature photos in his talks associated with his book ‘Roots Run Deep’ which convey life is like in his homeland.
Abu Rahma responded by saying that he was “deeply sorry” about the visa refusal, adding that he knew “a lot of people put their time and effort to organize my tour in Scotland and the UK”. He further stated that the reasons for refusing were “full of lies and untrue”.
His anger was evident in the words: “I don’t understand it. Does it mean that being a Palestinian journalist defending Palestinian rights is a terror activity?”
In 2015, Abu Rahma was denied entry to participate in an Edinburgh Festival Fringe on the grounds that he had no proof of income or bank statements, despite having proven that Fringe was sponsoring him and paying for his accommodation.
Abu Rahma’s latest visa application was supported by funds raised for his travel, accommodation, living expenses and visa application.
The UK Visas and Immigration said that they were not convinced that Abu Rahma was “genuinely seeking entry for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes,” and that he “will not undertake any prohibited activities…”
An online campaign to protest the decision has started, stating that “the real reason is because he is a Palestinian and they don’t want him exposing the crimes of the occupation.”
(PC, Herald Scotland)