Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh was found guilty Sunday of attacking a person at a left-wing protest in Tel Aviv eight years ago. According to the charges, Barakeh approached a person who was documenting the protest, elbowed him in the ribs and punched him.
Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court overturned other charges, including an attack on an IDF soldier in the central West Bank village of Bil'in; two other charges have also been dropped over the years.
"The conduct of the trial showed that this indictment, which was put together by the State Prosecution and approved by (former attorney general) Meni Mazuz, collapsed in a shameful manner," Barakeh said after the verdict was handed down.
"The prosecutors and Mazuz cannot claim objectivity and a commitment to law and justice after this. In Bil'in it was proven that I was fulfilling my duties in legitimate political activity, and I won because of the contradictions in the case made against me."
The original indictment against Barakeh referred to three other incidents. In the first incident, Barakeh was accused of attacking a Prison Services officer during an April 2005 protest against the construction of the West Bank fence near Bil'in. He was found not guilty.
The charges for the other two incidents were dropped as time passed. One related to comments by Barakeh to a senior police officer during a protest against the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and the second to remarks he made to a police officer during a protest outside a Labor Party conference.
"The case started with four different charges at four different protests," said Barakeh's lawyer, Hassan Jibril of the Adalah organization. "We are satisfied with the outcome on Bil'in, which was the main charge. From our perspective, the case collapsed. In any event there will not be a jail sentence nor a serious punishment."