pr 08-06-04

11 March 2010

The Political Trial of MK Mohammed Barakeh Opens before Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court

Adalah: The Charges are Baseless and Represent an Attempt by the State to Delegitimize the Arab Political Leadership in Israel

On 10 March 2010, the trial of MK Mohammed Barakeh, the leader of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (“al-Jabha” or “Hadash”) began in the Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court. MK Barakeh is represented by Adalah Attorneys Hassan Jabareen and Orna Kohn.

In November 2009, the Attorney General indicted MK Barakeh for his actions during demonstrations against the Separation Wall, against the War on Lebanon and the failure to prosecute police responsible for the killing of 13 Arab citizens in October 2000. MK Barakeh is charged with allegedly assaulting and insulting a public officer and harassment of a policeman during his work. At the hearing, Adalah argued that the charges against MK Barakeh are baseless and constitute an attempt to delegitimize his political action as an elected Arab leader.

Adalah Attorneys Jabareen and Kohn also argued at the hearing that the joinder of four different charges relating to four different demonstrations which took place over three years time in one indictment is illegal, represents an unlawful use of the State Prosecutor's authority, and will damage MK Barakeh's legal defense and right to a fair trial. The four charges against MK Barakeh pertain to four separate and unrelated incidents: a demonstration in Bil'in, two demonstrations in Tel Aviv that took place on different dates, and a demonstration in Nazareth. The combination of these different charges in one indictment therefore indicates that it is the State Prosecutor's intent to harm MK Barakeh's standing and unfairly influence the court. At the hearing, the prosecution was unable to provide any serious justification for combining these charges in a single indictment. The court granted the two parties fourteen days to submit their arguments in writing. The next hearing on the case is scheduled for 21 April 2010.

Prior to the hearing, at the end of February 2010, Adalah approached the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) on behalf of MK Barakeh to ask its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to investigate the charges against MK Barakeh. In response, the IPU contacted Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and asked for clarification regarding the filing of the indictment. The case will be discussed by the IPU at its General Assembly later this month.

Case Citation: Crim. File 12318-12/09, The State of Israel v. Mohammed Barakeh (case pending).





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