Two indictments against Naqab activists protesting home demolitions withdrawn

Adalah: The indictments had no legal basis or evidence to back up police claims. The police are targeting leaders of the Bedouin citizens\\\' struggle in order to intimidate the people in the unrecognized villages.

On 9 January 2014, the state prosecution announced the withdrawal of two indictments against Aziz Abu Medeghem, an activist and resident of the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib, and Haia Noach, the Executive Director of the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF). The indictments included charges of attacking police officers and disrupting public order during a protest against the demolition of Al-Araqib. The decision to withdraw the indictments came after Adalah  attorneys revealed video recordings to the court that proved that the police charges had no factual basis.

This is not the first time that Israeli police have been compelled to withdraw indictments against political activists in the backdrop of the Prawer Plan. Earlier this year, police cancelled an indictment against Attorney Ayman Odeh, the Secretary-General of the Arab-Jewish political party al-Jabha/Hadash, and cancelled indictments against Sheikh Sayyah al-Touri of Al-Araqib over his refusal to leave his village's land.

Attorney Aram Mahameed commented: "These indictments have no legal basis and contain no evidence to back up the police's claims. The police exaggerated the events in order to delegitimize the demonstrations and restrict the residents' right to protest and their right to freedom of expression. The police are targeting the leaders and representatives of the Bedouin citizens' struggle in order to intimidate the people in the unrecognized villages and political activists in general."

Attorney Mahameed further stated: "These indictments are one part in a series of actions by the Israeli authorities to threaten activists from exercising their rights. One action includes the use of arbitrary interrogations by the Shabak (General Security Services), whereby the Shabak recorded conversations and made direct threats against activists to deter them from taking part in demonstrations (See Adalah PR). Other examples are the brutal attacks and arbitrary arrests of protesters during demonstrations, which were followed by police indictments that had no legal basis (See Adalah PR). Although their charges are 'empty', the indictments force the activists to spend long and tiring hours in the courts as punishment for their political activities."

For more information:

Adalah PR, "Court Cancels 3 Indictments of Al-Araqib Protesters", 5 February 2013

Adalah PR, "Court Cancels Indictments against Arab Bedouin Leader Protesting Against Home Demolitions in Al-Araqib Village in the Naqab", 10 October 2012

Adalah PR, "Adalah and ACRI: The Shabak is Trying to Sow Fear Among Anti-Prawer Plan Activists", 28 November 2013