Supreme Court Rejects Adalah's Appeal to End Two-Month House Arrest of Political Protestor


On 11 June 2002, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by Adalah, seeking to lift the house arrest imposed on Mr. Basil Said, 23, of Kufr Kanna by the Nazareth Magistrate Court. 

Mr. Said was arrested and detained on 8 April 2002. Following an appeal of his detention by Adalah to the Nazareth District Court on 11 April 2002, he was released to house arrest. On 14 April 2002, Mr. Said was indicted for violating the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (1948). The alleged offense took place during a Land Day demonstration in Kufr Kanna on 30 March 2002, in the course of which Mr. Said displayed a photograph of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of the Lebanese guerilla movement Hezbollah. 

Mr. Said has been under house arrest since 11 April 2002. At a hearing on 12 May 2002, the Nazareth Magistrate Court decided that Mr. Said should remain under house arrest until the end of the legal proceedings against him, accepting the prosecutor's argument that he poses a danger to state and public security. The following day, Adalah Staff Attorney Jamil Dakwar appealed to the Nazareth District Court; this appeal was rejected. 

On 20 May 2002, Adalah submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court, arguing that there is no legal cause for holding Mr. Said under house arrest, as there were no grounds for his arrest and indictment. Moreover, the indictment violates his freedom to demonstrate and his freedom of speech. Adalah argued that holding Mr. Said under house arrest amounts to preventive and is disproportionate to the charge. The lower courts erred, Adalah argued, in not considering a partial house arrest that would allow Mr. Said to work during the day. 

After hearing the appeal on 29 May 2002, Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Rivlin upheld the decisions of the District and Magistrate Courts. Justice Rivlin added that Mr. Said could request that the Magistrate Court re-examine the conditions of his detention if the trial continues for an extended period of time. Mr. Said's trial will begin on 4 July 2002, before the Nazareth Magistrate Court.