Adalah: Arab leader released from detention
Israeli court releases Arab political leader from detention, accepting Adalah’s legal defense. Abnaa al-Balad leader Raja Eghbaria released to house arrest after court agrees with defense team that police behavior confirms he poses no threat justifying detention for a series of Facebook posts over the last year.
Arab political leader Raja Eghbaria was released to house arrest this afternoon, Monday, 15 October 2018, after the Haifa Magistrates’ Court denied the Israeli police’s request to keep him in detention until the conclusion of court proceedings against him.
Eghbaria, a member of the High Follow-Up Committee for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel and leader of the Abnaa al-Balad political movement was released to house arrest after more than a month in jail under terms that ban him from using the internet and telephone. He is also required to post a 10,000 shekel bond.
Israeli police arrested Eghbaria on 11 September 2018 and interrogated him for seven hours about Facebook status updates that he posted over the past 12 months. He was kept in jail on suspicion of online incitement to violence and support of a terror organization.
Eghbaria is represented by Attorney Hassan Jabareen, general director of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Adalah Attorney Rabea Eghbariah, and private attorneys Afnan Khalifa and Omar Khamaisa.
The court accepted the defense team’s position that the police’s delay in arresting Eghbaria – months after he published the concerned Facebook posts and the commencement of their investigation – confirms that he does not pose a threat justifying actual detention.
Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen responded this afternoon to the court’s decision:
“We have proven to the court that there is no legal basis for keeping Eghbaria in jail until his trial is over. The indictment itself is faulty due to proven problems with the state’s Hebrew translation of the Facebook posts that alter their wording from the original Arabic. We further proved that none of our client’s Facebook posts actually included any call to violence. So there isn’t really evidence against him justifying an indictment.”
Jabareen also emphasized the blatant discrimination between Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel in such cases, and said the defense team will raise this point in upcoming hearings.
Jabareen was referring to discrimination that was revealed during an earlier hearing on Eghbaria’s detention in which the Israeli prosecutor informed the court that the state has only ever sought detention until the end of court proceedings for Arab suspects in online incitement to terror cases – but never for Jewish suspects.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, Middle East Monitor in London, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
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