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(en) Israel-Palestine, Media: Court to cancel charges against anarchist fence protesters

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 26 Nov 2004 11:40:31 +0100 (CET)


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The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court is considering canceling an indictment against 11
members of Anarchists Against the Fence, yesterday's hearing on the case indicated.
At a previous hearing, on October 18, Judge Shmuel Landman
suggested that the state consider withdrawing the indictment
itself. Yesterday, however, the prosecution rejected this suggestion.
The defendants are charged with sitting down in the middle of Tel
Aviv's Kaplan Street during an unlicensed demonstration against
the separation fence on February 23. They are not accused of any
violence, as the prosecution erased the charge of attacking a
policeman that appeared in the original indictment.

According to defense attorney Gaby Lasky, it is extremely
unusual for nonviolent demonstrators to be prosecuted.

Following the October 18 hearing, Landman wrote: "The
prosecution should at least consider the public interest in trying
this case in general, and the charge of disturbing the peace in
particular... because one of the foundations of the crime of
disturbing the peace is a gathering that causes the public to feel
threatened, and I am doubtful that this is the case."

Yesterday, the prosecution responded that blocking a road did
make the public feel threatened. Moreover, it said, had the
demonstrators requested a permit for their protest, an indictment
might not have been filed; but when the police are taken
unawares, the prosecution is less forgiving.

In his decision, however, Landman said that after hearing the
evidence and watching a videotape of the demonstration, he
reserved the right to throw out the indictment on the grounds that
it did not serve the interests of justice. He also thereby rejected the
prosecution's argument that only the High Court of Justice could
cancel an indictment for this reason.

Anarchists Against the Fence members are also on trial in the
Jerusalem Magistrate's Court for a September demonstration in
the West Bank village of Burdus. The military commander
responded to the demonstration by declaring the area a closed
military zone, and the demonstrators broke the law by refusing to
leave.

The group views both indictments as part of an ongoing
government effort to deter them from their protests. This effort
has also included interrogations by the Shin Bet security service
and the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and even live fire against
demonstrators.


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