Sheikh Raed Salah
Photo: Hagai Aharon

Islamic Movement leader charged with inciting violence

Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office indicts Sheikh Raed Salah for inciting violence at protest rally in east Jerusalem last February. Salah's lawyer petitions Attorney General Mazuz for dismissal of 'false allegations'

The Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office filed an indictment with the capital's Magistrate's Court on Tuesday against Islamic Movement head Sheikh Raed Salah for inciting violence and racism.


Salah was arrested in east Jerusalem on February 2007, while attending a mass rally protesting Israel's work at the Mugrabi Gate, which leads to Temple Mount.


The court had previously banned Salah from entering the Old City, so the rally – attended by hundreds of his supporters – was held in east Jerusalem.


According to the indictment, in a speech given at the rally Salah told his followers that "we stand here at this holy, blessed place, preparing to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque… here all the clouds of discrimination will be lifted and the streets of Jerusalem will be cleansed from the blood of the innocents, killed by the Israeli soldiers who occupy the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.


"The disruptive Israeli occupation will soon be removed, God willing, like others before it were," he said. 


'Sheikh will not get a fair trial'

The indictment further described how the masses began rioting after Salah's speech, hurling stones at nearby police forces and injuring three.


Attorney Khaled Azbargah, who represents Sheikh Salah, petitioned Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, asking that he drop the "false allegations."


"We presented the attorney general with arguments refuting the charges," he told Ynet, adding "it's rather surprising that on the same day he (Mazuz) decided to close the October 2000 riots case, he also decided to indict the Arab community's most prominent leader.


"We have a feeling the sheikh will not get a fair trial and we are considering our steps accordingly. We many turn to the international court," he said, adding "the sheikh has every right to protest against the demolition carried out at the Al-Aqsa compound."


The Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office asked the court to reaffirm the order prohibiting Salah from entering the Old City, pending the result of his court hearing.


"The State has proven once more that the legal proceedings taken against the sheikh are for political gain only," said Azbargah. "The fact that they want to keep him away from the mosque just proves that."


Sheikh Salah was previously arrested along with other members of the Islamic Movement on suspicions of transferring funds to Hamas. He was released as part of a plea bargain. 


פרסום ראשון: 01.29.08, 14:56
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