Israeli Activists Declared Innocent Of Rioting
A year after their arrest at
demonstration against the wall, in the
West Bank village of Budrus, the trial of Jonathan Pollak and Kobi Snitz, has come to an end.
Today, Tuesday May 16 th, 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 "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", also in the 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 offence".
Interesting details regarding the Border Police tactics were made public during the trail. Police officer Yasmin Levi was asked during the trail 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 the Border Police 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" when questioned by the court, the fact that she "apparently lied" 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," and "her testimony casts a shadow on the testimonies of all the other border police officers" said the Judge.
Koby and Jonathan plan to file complaints against Yasmin Levi.