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June protests Photo: AFP
June protests Photo: AFP
 
 

Indictments against social justice activists dismissed

Police ask court to pull five Tel Aviv protesters' indictments, nine others still pending. Attorney says case displays 'lack of understanding of right to demonstrate in democratic country'

Gilad Morag
Published: 12.12.12, 19:09 / Israel News

Six months have passed since the violent social protest in Tel Aviv, in which bank windows were smashed.

 

The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court decided on Wednesday to dismiss five of the indictments filed against activists for misdemeanor offenses. The police decided to pursue nine other cases filed in connection with the incident.

 

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During the June 23 demonstration, 85 people were arrested but only 14 indictments, for public disturbances and rioting in a public place, were filed with the court.

 

Some of the protestors were also accused of assaulting police officers and resisting arrest.

 

Tens of activists arrived at the hearing Wednesday in support of the accused, including last year's protest leaders, Daphni Leef and Yigal Rambam.

 

'Israel's most wanted'

Alon-Lee Green, one of the protest's leaders whose file was dismissed told Ynet: "We firmly insist that we are not the ones who should be accused here but rather the government ministers responsible, for instance, for the public health crisis.

 

"We were arrested because we demanded social justice, nothing more, and we will continue to be here until all of the accused are acquitted."

 

Those whose indictments were not dismissed were charged with rioting and assaulting police officers, but none were charges with smashing the banks' windowpanes.

 

One of the accused, who is suspected of assaulting a veteran officer, said, "I know that I didn't do anything and they won't be able to prove that I did, so I'm not stressed."

 

Her friend added, "We will continue to fight, I don't know why I am being accused and others aren't, it's arbitrary."

 

"All of the indictments were 'born of sin' and the insistence to continue and conduct them points, in my opinion, at the lack of understanding of the right to demonstrate in a democratic country," said Attorney Gaby Lasky, who represented two of the accused.

 

Attorney Avigdor Feldman, who is also representing some of the accused, said that, "The case created a classification of 'heavy' and 'not so heavy' offenders, one was accused of throwing a bottle of water, another uttered a word, and they are included in Israel's 20 wanted people.

 

"We will try to prove that they were targeted in advance. We believe one of the leading witnesses, Deputy Inspector General Yoram Ohayon, who we think incited the police officers' violent behavior."

 

During the deliberation, a police official told the court that the cases in which suspects were charged with spitting on an officer and hurling a bottle at another must be taken seriously. 

 

 

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