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Leftist gets month in jail for assault

Aviad Glickman | YNet News

21 October 2009

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court sentenced left-wing activist Ezra Nawi to one month in prison, after convicting him of assaulting police officers and rioting during the demolition of illegal structures near South Mount Hebron in July 2007.

Nawi was also ordered to pay a fine of NIS 750 (roughly $202), and an additional NIS 500 ($135) compensation to each officer he assaulted.

Judge Eilata Ziskind wrote in her ruling that “even if there is a supreme goal, it cannot be used as an excuse to commit offenses.” Nawi said in response that “the court has been permitting the occupation. The punishment doesn’t scare me, and neither does the judge.”

Ziskind’s verdict read, “Freedom of expression is not the freedom to incite and take actions that prevent or disrupt police work…Freedom of expression does not allow for riots, incitement or violence. Democracy cannot allow this, for if the law enforcement system collapses, anarchy will reign and democracy and freedom of expression will be no more.”

The judge added, “The fact that a person is acting in the name of one ideology or another, as justified as it may be, is no excuse to commit offenses in the name of that ideology, and in this matter there is no difference between left-wing activists, right-wing activists, religious, seculars, or other groups in conflict.”

After the sentencing Nawi told Ynet, “The judge would rather take the word of two Border Guard officers who lied and coordinated their testimonies. The entire system wants to see me in jail.

“The court has been permitting the occupation for years, they are trying to stop me at all costs. The judge doesn’t scare me, and neither does the 30-day sentence. This is testimonium paupertatis to the court, I tried to stop criminal activity, and I ended up having to pay two officers who acted brutally. This is the Israeli reality.”

Nawi, a leftist and member of the Ta’ayush organization, was arrested after he objected to the demolition of illegal structures and tin huts of Bedouin residents of Umm al-Kher and was convicted of inciting the residents of the area and causing riots.

In his verdict, the judge accepts the officer’s claims and ruled that Nawi hit one of them in the face.

The Yesha Human Rights Organization in response criticized the one-month prison sentence.

“One month in jail is like mocking the poor and emphasizes the selectivity of the law enforcement system in Judea and Samaria. (The system) allows Nawi to run wild, cooperate with Hamas members and hurt settlers, and remembers to enforce the law only when he hurts policemen,” the organization said in a statement.