Visa rejection stops Palestinian photographer from attending Edinburgh event

26 Aug 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

An internationally renowned Palestinian photo journalist’s application for a UK visa to appear at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has been turned down.

Hamde Abu Rahma, a Palestinian activist and author of the book Roots Run Deep chronicling life in occupied Palestine, had been due to appear at the Welcome to the Fringe events put together by playwright David Grieg.

He told The Scotsman: “The festival invited me to show my photographs which represent the non-violent resistance and my talk about Palestinian life to the British audience. The UK government refused to give me a visa and the reason for refusal was that I didn’t show any bank statements or documentation to demonstrate my ability to support myself during my visit.”

The rejection came even though Mr Abu Rahma provided evidence that his UK visit and accommodation was being sponsored through the Fringe Festival. Money was raised to pay for the trip through a crowd funding campaign set up by Mr Grieg.

Mr Abu Rahma said that this was the first time that any country had turned down his visa application and it meant he would also be prevented from travelling in the UK to publicise his work following the event in Edinburgh.

He added: “I have travelled extensively to tell the Palestinian story through my photographs but the UK is the first country that has refused me entry for a ridiculous and unfounded reason.”

The visa rejection letter he received said he had not proved his ability to support himself while in the UK and that he did not have “strong enough economic or social ties to the Occupied Palestinian Territories” to satisfy officials that he would leave the UK at the end of the visa period.