Facebook activist charged with incitement and “humiliating public employee” 17Mar11 March 18, 2011

IMEMC -  17 March 2011

A Palestinian Facebook activist from Sakhnin, north of the country, was kidnapped by the Israeli police on Wednesday and was placed under interrogation on charges of “inciting violence, and humiliating a public employee”.

The activist, Mohammad Ghanayim, was detained on Wednesday at dawn when a “Crime Prevention” unit of the Israeli police broke into his home in Sahknin and kidnapped him, according to the Arabs48 news website.

Ghanayim was accused of “inciting violence” through his Facebook page, and for publishing “incitement materials” on the Arabs48 website, according to the police.

The police claimed that Ghanayim was advocating through his Facebook page for the death of an Arab officer who serves in the Israeli military north of the country.

The Israeli prosecution said that he used his Facebook page to voice a threat to murder an officer, in addition to humiliating a public employee.

The director of the Arabs48 Website, Iz Ed-Deen Badran, said that he had no idea about the alleged threat, but said he believed the issue apparently related to a comment Ghanayim made on the Arabs48 website through his Facebook account.

Badran criticized the arrest of Ghanayim and denounced the Israeli police for ignoring incitement and death threats made by fundamentalist Jews against the Palestinian Arabs in the country.

Speaking to the Arabs48 website, Lawyer Mohammad Tarbiyya said that he was not allowed to meet his client, because the police told him that he could not meet his client until they completed an interrogation of Tarbiyya’s family in Sakhnin.

An Israeli court rejected the police’s refusal to allow Ghanayim access to his lawyer, and allowed the lawyer to meet Ghanayim before he was sent to court.

Lawyer Fuad Sultani said that the police dropped the incitement to murder charge, and are instead pressing charges of incitement to violence, terror, and humiliating a public employee.

Sultani further stated that the police immediately issued a statement to the media claiming that “incitement” had been published on the Arabs48 website. He said that the police are desperately trying to make links between acts that could potentially happen, and comments published as a personal opinion criticized military services.

Both Sultani and Tarbiyya said that the court refused to extend the remand of Tarbiyya for an additional week as requested by the prosecution, and only extended his remand until Sunday under the pretext that “there are more suspects that are currently under interrogation” while three more will be interrogated soon.


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