ACRI to A-G: Drop Charges Against Gaza War Demonstrators

Indictments were hastily filed against six demonstrators who participated in a peaceful protest in Beersheva.

ACRI intervened before Israel’s Attorney-General, Menahem Mazuz, demanding he drop the charges against six Israelis who participated in a protest demonstration in Beersheva during Operation Cast Lead on January 14. The six demonstrators, who were among a crowd of several dozen protesters, were arrested during the demonstration and a day later indictments were hastily filed against them. One demonstrator, who had participated in a different protest 10 days earlier, was kept in custody and later discharged to “town arrest” at his sister’s home in the Galilee. Three demonstrators were released following their interrogation, while the two others were released on condition they do not enter the premises of Beersheva for 14 days.

In his letter to Mazuz frrom June 7, ACRI’s Chief Legal Counsel, Dan Yakir, states that the demonstration was in fact a peaceful vigil, condemning acts of violence at the hands of the IDF and Hamas. Though police dispersed the crowd on the grounds that they had not received the necessary permit, a protest gathering of this scale does not actually necessitate obtaining a permit. “It is most unfortunate that this is not a rare incident of the police unnecessarily harassing demonstrators”, writes Yakir. “Time and time again we have brought this matter to your attention, including steps taken [unlawfully by the security forces] during Operation Cast Lead”.

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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties, Freedom of Expression, Gaza Strip, The Occupied Territories

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