Salah. 'Blame the police'
Photo: Noam Moskowitz

Raed Salah acquitted in 2007 rioting case

Head of Islamic Movement's northern branch cleared of blame for accusing Israel of trying to cause al-Aqsa Mosque to collapse

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, was acquitted Tuesday by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court in a case of rioting in east Jerusalem in 2007, while Israel was renovating the Mughrabi Gate leading to the Temple Mount from the Western Wall Plaza. As the verdict was read, the sheikh's supporters expressed their joy.


During the Wadi Joz protest three years ago, Salah waved a Syrian flag and claimed that Israel was trying to dig under the Temple Mount in order to cause the al-Aqsa Mosque to collapse.


He was arrested along with another protestor, after the two delivered speeches of incitement in the area together with several other activists.


"It is now the duty of every Arab and Muslim to launch an intifada from one end to another to save Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque," Salah had said in his speech. "We are not the ones who allowed ourselves to eat a meal based on bread and cheese soaked in children's blood."


The sheikh's lawyers presented evidence showing that the police officers' testimonies contradicted each other. The defense submitted footage from the protest, which the judges ruled "could prove inaccuracies in the indictment".

Salah in court (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)


The footage showed policeman arriving in the area during Salah's speech, including witnesses for the prosecution who approached the flag wavers and spoke to them. The man holding the Syrian flag put it down immediately, and the one holding a PLO flag put it down shortly afterwards. The police later asked the latter to hand over the flag, leading to a fight.


Judge Shimon Fineberg said that the prosecution failed to prove the offense of illegal gathering, and acquitted Salah of that charge as well.


Salah said Tuesday that he had no one to thank for the acquittal. "The trial described the truth. The police should be blamed, and if true justice is sought, all the four remaining cases against me should be closed."


In a separate affair, Salah was convicted in October of rioting and attacking a policeman and was later sentenced to nine months in prison and six months probation. He appealed the sentence with the District Court.


Salah, one of the most prominent and militart leaders in the Arab public, took part in the Temple Mount riots last October, when he convened his followers in the Old City. Some of them barricaded themselves within the al-Aqsa Mosque. Following the incident, a judge banned him from entering Jerusalem.


פרסום ראשון: 05.11.10, 11:00
 new comment
This will delete your current comment