Jerusalem man ordered to tear down own home 13Sep11 September 13, 2011

The Palestinian Information Centre  -  12 September 2011

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– A Palestinian man in Jerusalem was ordered on Sunday to tear his own home in order to avoid paying NIS 20,000 in fines.

The demolished home is a 70 square meter second floor attachment that includes a bedroom, a balcony, a living room, and other accessories, and housed Jerusalem native Taha Ahmed Obeidiya, his wife, and eight children.

Obeidiya said he paid a first offense fine of NIS 12,000 (USD 3,235) and then a second of NIS 3,000 (USD 808). He also had to pay somewhere between NIS 35,000 to 40,000 for a lawyer, NIS 10,000 for a building engineer, and NIS 12,000 for a surveyor, all in order to obtain a building permit. However, in the end he was denied apermit.

“My lawyer told me that I would be placed in prison for not being able to pay for the municipality’s engineer, while the court date was pushed back ten months to pay the sum,” Obeidiya said. “I went to several organizations for help, given the engineer was asking for $35,000. But I have been out of work since 2006 because of an injury on nine discs and cartilage, and I can’t afford the amount.”

“I went to the court and was ordered to pay NIS 20,000 for a third violation. I asked the court for postponement, but the prosecutor declined. She also declined my request for a building permit on the grounds that the old building on the ground was large, so she ordered issuing a license for the old building before getting a license for any building attachments. I did that, but they refused the license again.”

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