The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court sentenced far Left activist Yonatan Pollack to three months in prison after convicting him of illegal gathering during a Tel Aviv protest against the Gaza blockade almost three years ago.
Pollak was also ordered to pay a fine of NIS 1,500 ($418). Judge Yitzhak Yitzhak ruled that Pollak based on his personal convictions, expressed in the remarks he made to the court.
The sentence imposed on Pollak follows a conditional sentence handed out in the past for illegal gathering, sedition and property damage. This sentence was given after Pollak refused to convert it to community service during the plea stage.
As he exited the courthouse, a group of left-wing activists stood outside and chanted: "He is innocent" and "Stop the occupation."
Pollak was sent to prison for his arrest back in January 2008. During a protest against the Gaza blockade he rode his bicycle very slowly along the streets of Tel Aviv, causing traffic jams.
In court Pollak charged he was being indicted strictly for political reasons.
Pollak's attorney Gabi Laski claimed that her client was arrested only because the police recognized him from previous demonstrations. Among the left-wing activists who came to support Pollak during the sentencing, were author Yoram Kaniuk and actress Liora Rivlin. Both criticized the conduct of the court and the police.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel also criticized the sentence. Its Chief Legal Counsel Dan Yakir said: "The fact that Pollak was the only one arrested, even though he behaved just like the rest of the protesters, and the fact that bicycle demonstrations are usually held without police involvement raises a strong suspicion regarding personal persecution and a severe blow for freedom of expression, just because of his opinions. A prison sentence in the wake of a protest is an extreme and exaggerated punishment."