Lawyers of seven of the protestors arrested during demonstrations against the Prawer-Begin Plan in the Arab town of Sakhneen on 15 July 2013 have appealed to the Haifa District Court against the Akka (Akko) Magistrates’ Court’s decision to extend their detention for six days, until Sunday, 21 July 2013. The court will hear the appeal at 13:30 today.
The lawyers emphasized in the appeal that the arrest of the protestors was illegal, and followed the illegal dispersion of a legal and peaceful demonstration, one that does not require a permit by law. The protest began at 17:00 on 15 July, and at 18:00 the police ordered it to end. Just five minutes later, while a group of demonstrators had begun to leave the site, a large number of police officers swooped in, reinforced by mounted police, special forces, and secret police, sprayed the demonstrators with tear gas, and began to arrest some of them using excessive force, leaving the detainees injured.
They lawyers sharply criticized the conduct of the Akka Magistrates’ Court judge during the extension-of-detention hearing. The judge limited each lawyer representing the protestors to just five minutes for questioning the police official, and cut them off them at the end of this period. The judge also did not allow the lawyers to question the police about their reasons for arresting the protestors, or about the alleged need for them to extend their detention. In addition, the judge refused to examine the signs of violence evident on the protestors’ bodies, which indicated the extent of the violence the police committed against them during both their arrest and later during their detention at the police station.
The appeal also stated that the court insisted on treating the demonstrators as a single group, refusing to look into the individual circumstances of each of their arrests, or the need for the extension of their detention, as required by law. The lawyers argued that merely accusing the detainees of committing a crime does not justify their continued detention. They emphasized that, “All the detainees are law-abiding persons with no criminal record, and it is possible to summon them to continue the investigation, if necessary, after they are released.” They were surprised at the court’s intransigence in refusing to consider alternatives to extending their detention.
The protestors are being represented by Adalah Attorneys Suhad Bishara and Jalal Dakwar, as well as Attorney Nidal Othman of Mossawa, and volunteer Attorneys Daoud Naffaa, Jihad Abu Raya, Riyad Mahameed, Iyad Khalayli, Mueen Armoush, Bassam Shaqour, and Hosam Mawid.
The detainees are: Mohannad Abdel Fattah, Saif Khateeb, Ahmed Hakroush, Tamer Hasri, Ahmed Hamdan, Yousef Diyab, and Ameer Abu Roumi.
For further details contact Adalah’s Media Director, Salah Muhsin: 052-5950922.
For more information:
Press Release: Update: Courts extend detention of Prawer Plan protests, 16 May 2013
Adalah's "Stop Prawer" Campaign Page
Protestor arrested by Israeli police during July 15 demonstration against the Prawer-Begin Plan (Photo by Activestills)