Muhammad Abu-Tir
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Abu-Tir indicted for staying in Israel illegally

Islamist group member indicted a mere month after release from Israeli prison. State seeks remand pending conclusion of trial; Abu-Tir refuses to post bail and leave Jerusalem

Senior Hamas figure Muhammad Abu-Tir, who was arrested on Wednesday, was indicted Thursday for staying in Israel illegally.


The indictment was filed with the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court. The prosecution is seeking a jail sentence and has asked the court to remand Abu-Tir pending the conclusion of the legal proceedings against him.


At this point, the court remanded Abu-Tir for an additional four days.


The Hamas figure told the court he would be "willing to do anything to stay in Jerusalem," refusing the alternative offered by the State – depositing a NIS 100,000 (roughly $29,000) bail and posting assurances that he would not return to the capital.


The indictment, prepared by the Jerusalem Prosecution, stated that Abu-Tir was seen in a vehicle driving to the village of Zur Baher, in the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem. As Abu-Tir, who was released form Israeli prison merely one month ago, does not have a permit to enter or stay in Israel, he was arrested as an illegal alien.


Abu-Tir's wife told yet she would rather see her husband behind bars, than away from his east Jerusalem home: "If he is expelled I'll go with him. He is my husband, and contrary to belief, he isn’t a member of Hamas. This would be a political decision, not one meant to protect anyone."


Abu-Tir's attorney said that this would be the first instance in which the interior minister revokes the citizenship of a resident of east Jerusalem.


He too said that his client was not a member of any parliament or terror group. "We saw no letter from the Ministry of Interior or from the interior minister and therefore we cannot accept any of the conditions suggested. We are willing to meet the demands of any parole, as long as he remains at his Jerusalem home."


Attorney Arie Brand, for the prosecution, told Ynet that "this is not a rerun and we do not aim to take the place of the High Court. If (Abu-Tir's) attorney wants to prepare for trial, he should prepare to mount a legal defense."


The prosecution argued that other than staying in Israel illegally, Abu-Tir "has chosen to blatantly violate the law, indicating the he poses a threat to the public and to the State."


פרסום ראשון: 07.01.10, 17:13
 new comment
This will delete your current comment