Israeli court sentences Palestinian protest leader

first_img Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day The court said he was convicted mostly on the basis of a confession given by a 15-year-old. The teen was interrogated without a lawyer present, his relatives and activists said.The case against him sparked European Union criticism of Israel’s policy of imprisoning Palestinian protest leaders.Many of those protests turn into clashes between stone-throwing youths and Israeli soldiers firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Typically, youths appear to act on their own, while protest leaders do little to halt them.Al-Tamimi said the sentence highlighted the “absurdity” of the case, matching the time he spent in prison before his 85-year-old mother suffered a stroke, prompting his conditional release in April.Al-Tamimi said he was at the mercy of statements taken from vulnerable youths interrogated by Israeli forces.“Any child who is threatened could say my name in any matter, and I’ll go back to prison,” al-Tamimi said after the trial.An Israeli military spokeswoman said al-Tamimi was also given a 17-month suspended sentence, but the term was canceled because of his clean prison record and “irregularities in the trial.”She was referring to the judge’s decision not to use evidence from two other Palestinians, including a 14-year-old, because of contradictions in their confessions. The spokeswoman spoke anonymously according to military regulations. Al-Tamimi is among several protest leaders arrested in recent years for organizing what Israel defines as illegal demonstrations. Rights groups say the arrests are an attempt to stifle expression. Those cases also relied on confessions from minors.In al-Tamimi’s case, evidence was chiefly taken from a confession by a teen relative who was detained after he was caught throwing rocks. Activists and relatives protested that a lawyer was not present when he gave his evidence.Israeli officials say the interrogations are necessary to quell violence. They say Palestinians are offered fair trials. Most Palestinians take plea bargains instead of going to trial, because few are cleared after a lengthy legal process.___Additional reporting by Diaa Hadid in Jerusalem. Follow Hadid on” alt=”last_img” /> read more