On Monday, December 15, the Tel Aviv District Court ordered the lower Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court to review its decision to convict MK Muhammad Barakeh, in light of the defendant’s parliamentary immunity. Baralek, chairman of Hadash and a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Israel, was convicted last March for allegedly attacking a right-wing counter demonstrator during a protest against the Second Lebanon war eight years ago.
According to the NGO Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel – the District Court’s panel of three judges (Devorah Berliner, George Karah, and Miriam Sokolov) found that the lower Magistrate’s Court had declined to explain why Barakeh’s acts were not covered by his parliamentary immunity. Adalah remarked that there is legal precedent for parliamentary immunity for MKs like Barakeh involved in low-level tussles in the context of protests.
The lawmaker had previously been acquitted of the more serious charge of striking a soldier from an undercover unit during another demonstration against the West Bank security barrier in Bil’in, west of Ramallah, nine years ago.
After the lower court’s initial verdict, Barakeh commented that the verdict “proved what we said at first, that this was a political trial against the activities and positions of a member of the Knesset,” and vowed to appeal. Hassan Jabareen, Barakeh’s lawyer and director of Adalah, indicated that this is “the first time that the prosecutor filed an indictment against an MK for something occurring at a demonstration.” Jabareen emphasized that many right-wing MKs participating in demonstrations have behaved illegally, for example during the events surrounding Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, but none of them were indicted for their acts.
- April 25, 2014 – MK Barakeh after the conviction: “This was a political trial”
- March 24, 2014 – MK Barakeh on the verdict: “This was a political trial”
- March 22, 2014 – Court decision in MK Barakeh’s political trial on next Sunday
- February 16, 2014 – Closing arguments in MK Barakeh trial: Police testimonies indicate case is fabricated
- October 4, 2013 – Film footage shown at trial confirms that MK Barakeh is innocent
- May 8, 2012 Political trial against MK Barakeh: officers threw stones at soldiers in Bil’in
- April 19, 2012 – Criminal trial of MK Mohammed Barakeh begins
- March 9, 2010 – Tel Aviv Court to Hold First Hearing in Political Case against MK Mohammed Barakeh Tomorrow