The trial of Jonathan Pollak and Kobi Snitz has come to an end a year after the two were arrested at a demonstration against the wall in the West Bank village of Budrus.
Today, Tuesday, May 16th, Judge Alexander Ron of the Jerusalem Peace court declared the two Israeli activists from “Anarchists Against the Wall” innocent of their rioting charge.
Judge Alexander agreed with defense attorney Gabi Laski that “if the court would attribute rioting to any person present at a demonstration where others break the law this would cause severe damage to the freedom to demonstrate.” He added that “the freedom to demonstrate is, no doubt, a basic legal right of the first degree,” even in the Occupied Territories. “The claim that the presence of the defendants at the demonstration, as a basis for their conviction, was rejected and despite the court’s expressed disapproval of participating in demonstrations where stones are thrown by others, “it is not possible to attribute to the defendants any concrete criminal offense.”
Interesting details regarding the Border Police tactics were made public during the trial. When police officer Yasmin Levi was asked during the trial if the border police use weapons on Palestinians that they would not use on Israelis, she said, “of course.” Border Police officer Hassan Mada said that when there are Israelis in a Palestinian demonstration “we will remove the Israelis to get them out of the line of fire… so that we can take action against the Palestinians.”
Kobi Snitz stated, “in their testimonies the police reinforced what we already knew: when Palestinians demonstrate without Israeli activists support they are met with lethal repression.”
Judge Alexander criticized Border Police officer Yasmin Levi for changing her testimony. According to the Judge, Yasmin wrote an initial arrest report, but “after speaking to her friends ‘remembered’ to accuse the defendants of stone throwing and cursing;” accusations she later dropped.
He adds, “if her changing versions would not be enough to nullify her testimony… the fact that she apparently lied when questioned by the court would.”
Judge Alexander said, “it should be noted that Yasmin’s statements indicate previous knowledge of the defendants, and it seems [there are] personal grudges that she has against them from previous demonstrations… This also does not add to her credibility… Her testimony casts a shadow on the testimonies of all the other Border Police officers.”
Koby and Jonathan plan to file complaints against Yasmin Levi.
For more information:
Attorney Gabi Laski 0544 418 988
Jonathan Polack 0546 327 736