Hadash MKs accused police on Saturday, May 19, of badly beating Jafar Farah, chairman of the Mossawa human rights group, while in custody after arresting him on Friday night at a Haifa protest against the deadly Israeli repression of demonstrators in Gaza. A total of 21 persons were arrested at the Friday protest, two of them minors who have since been released.
Organizers of the Friday protest said that Farah was being treated at Bnei Zion Medical Center for a broken knee sustained during his overnight questioning. Joint List Chairman, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) clashed Saturday afternoon with police officers who prevented him from visiting Farah in hospital.
MK Odeh was denied entry into Farah’s room by police officers who were posted to guard him, as they were instructed not to allow the detainee to receive guests in his room. Odeh identified himself as a member of the Knesset, but that failed to convince police to let him enter.
“Police forces brutally repressed the protest without any explanation,” Odeh accused Friday. “[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government wants to silence any voice of resistance and dissent coming from here; to silence any voice that embarrasses it and its actions. I have only the greatest appreciation for the protesters tonight and the immense sacrifice of the detainees. No police brutality will succeed in silencing us.”
Odeh then took to social media to express his agitation, asking, “What is Farah under arrest for? Why is he shackled while hospitalized? And why are we being prevented from asking the doctors how is he doing?” “Soon we will demonstrate in front of the police station against its fascist actions,” he continued, though stressed that the “police are only a tool in the hands of the government and its head who is leading a policy of criminal incitement against us, Arab citizens.”
Knesset member for the Joint List Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) also testified to the aggression and violation of rights by Israeli police. “The violence exerted on protesters was unchecked. Interrogators continued to beat up the detainees after they were arrested without any explanation or justification… All this happened while they delayed the detainees’ meetings with a lawyer and withheld from them medical care,” she claimed.
In Jerusalem last Monday, May 14, police arrested 14 Israeli peace activists who were protesting the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem nearby the new location of the mission in the city’s Arnona neighborhood. Participating in the protest were all MKs from the Joint List, some of whom scuffled with police and one of whom officers pushed to the ground at one point.
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- Haifa: 21 Arrested in Protest against Gaza Killings; Tonight, Sunday, another Demonstration
- Video of the Haifa demonstration on Friday night, May 18