29 January 2012

Trial of Arab MK Sa'id Naffaa Opens in Nazareth District Court Monday 30 January 2012, 9 a.m

Tomorrow, Monday 30 January 2012, at 9 o'clock am, the District Court in Nazareth will hold its first hearing in the case of Arab Member of Knesset (MK) Sa'id Naffaa. MK Naffaa has been criminally charged with traveling illegally to an enemy state, assisting in organizing a visit to an enemy state, and being in contact with a foreign agent. These charges relate to a delegation of around 300 persons – Arab Druze clerics and social figures who are citizens of Israel – that MK Naffaa organized and accompanied on a pilgrimage to Druze holy places in Syria in September 2007. With respect to the charge of "contact with a foreign agent", the prosecution alleges that MK Naffaa met leaders of political organizations that Israel considers to be "terrorist organizations" while in Syria.

MK Naffaa denies the charge of contact with a foreign agent, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and maintains that all his activities and meetings fall within the framework of his duties as an elected public official. Regarding the charge of organizing a visit to Syria for Arab Druze elders, 16 of whom have been indicted before the Nazareth Magistrates' Court, MK Naffaa has stated that the Israeli law that prohibits visits by clerics and visits for humanitarian purposes to Syria and other "enemy states" is arbitrary. The Emergency Regulations (Foreign Travel) (1948), pursuant to which MK Naffaa is charged, is contrary to democratic standards and international law. Adalah attorneys Hassan Jabareen and Orna Kohn are representing MK Sa'id Naffaa before the Nazareth District Court, together with private attorney Salim Wakim.

Case Citation: Criminal Case: 47188-12-11, State of Israel v. Sa'id Naffaa (case pending)

For more information, contact:

Salah Mohsen, Adalah Media Coordinator,, 052-595-0922
Edan Ring, Adalah Media Coordinator,, 054-668-0085

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