Israel releases Palestinian protesters as footage of arrest goes viral (VIDEO)
An Israeli court has ordered the release of 19 protesters following the emergence of footage showing them being violently arrested at a demonstration Friday. Some 17 Palestinians and two Israelis were among those held.
The protesters were released by the Haifa Magistrates’ Court Monday after a nine-hour overnight hearing in the northern city. The court threw out the claim by police that the protesters attacked officers. This was after footage shared on social media showed a police punching and kicking people at the scene.
Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, represented the protesters with volunteer lawyers from the Human Rights Defenders Fund. They demanded the immediate release of all those in custody without conditions.
VIDEO: #Israeli#police employed extreme violence last night in #Haifa against #Palestinian citizens of #Israel demonstrating in support of #Gaza protesters. The violence was unprecedented and unprovoked, and @AdalahEnglish considers the arrests of protesters to be illegal. pic.twitter.com/uAYvGze0vu— Adalah (@AdalahEnglish) May 19, 2018
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In a statement, Attorney Hassan Jabareen paid tribute to those who posted videos of the arrests on social media. "We succeeded to turn the courtroom from a space used against protestors into a space where police violence was exposed and rejected," he said.
“This shift was possible due to social media, due to all of the videos, photos, and testimonies that were posted by the people that told the true story of what happened on Friday night.”
Outside court tonight in Haifa, waiting for trial of all detainees from Friday's protest pic.twitter.com/1HW5L8j2JQ— Nadine Nashef (@nanninenashef) May 20, 2018
Jabareen also pointed out the “absurdity” that the accused were charged with attacking police when they themselves were wounded. “Some of them even had to be hospitalized due to attacks by police,” he said.
The Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department opened a probe into allegations of police brutality on Monday. Earlier, the justice ministry had denied any police wrongdoing. Police arrested 21 people out of the more than 200 in attendance at the Friday night march in protest to Israel’s actions on the Gaza border.
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