Israeli court sentences Palestinian activist Munther Amira to 6 months

12:00 Mar 14 2018 Ofer Prison and Military Court

Israeli court sentences Palestinian activist Munther Amira to 6 months Israeli court sentences Palestinian activist Munther Amira to 6 months
Munther Amirato. Published by Maan News

Israeli forces arrest Munther Amira during a demonstration in support of Nariman and Ahed Tamimi. Bethlehem, West Bank, December 27, 2017. Published by 972Mag.

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Ofer Military Court sentenced Palestinian activist Munther Amirato six months of prison on Monday.

Amira, the head of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) in the occupied West Bank, was arrested during peaceful protests in late December.

Amira’s brother, Ghassan, told Ma’an that the court sentenced Amira to six months of jail in addition to a suspended sentence of five years and a fine.

He added that the suspended sentence includes 3 suspended years if Amira is detained during any activity after his release and five years if he is detained during a protest.

As he was arrested, Amira, along with dozens of Palestinians, were demonstrating against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the arrest of 17-year-old activist Ahed Tamimi, who had been detained one week prior.

Video of Amira’s arrest shows the activist standing at the front of protests, holding a sign in support of Ahed Tamimi, when a group of Israeli officers ran out from the military base and grabbed him.

The Israeli prosecution brought 12 charges against Amira, among them throwing stones, organizing and participating in unpermitted marches, and throwing an incendiary device towards soldiers, the latter referring to when Amira threw back a tear gas canister that was shot at him by Israeli forces while he was peacefully demonstrating.

Amira was prosecuted in a military court that has over a 99 percent conviction rate against Palestinians.

Military court sends leading Palestinian nonviolent activist to prison

Munther Amirah is the chairman of the Palestinian Popular Committees in the West Bank. The terms of his sentence will make it impossible for him to continue organizing non-violent protests against the occupation.

By Yael Marom for 972Mag

An Israeli military court sentenced Munther Amirah, one of the leading figures in the Palestinian popular struggle in the West Bank, to six months in prison on Wednesday. Amira was arrested in Bethlehem on December 27, 2017, during a demonstration against Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and in support of Ahed Tamimi.

Like Tamimi, Amirah was denied bail and has been imprisoned since his arrest. He was indicted on over 10 counts of participating in illegal protests, throwing stones, and throwing a “flammable object” — a tear gas canister fired at him by Israeli soldiers — back at the soldiers. A plea bargain left him only with charges for organizing unauthorized marches and disturbing the peace.

Amirah is the chairman of the Palestinian Popular Committees in the West Bank and has organized countless nonviolent protests against the occupation alongside many other activists.

The terms of his sentence, however, will make it difficult for him to continue his role as a non-violent organizer even after he his released from prison.

In addition to prison time, the military court gave Amirah a three-month suspended sentence for participating in an illegal demonstration, and another six-month suspended sentence for unspecified violent crimes. His attorney, Gaby Lasky, said that as a person who does not believe in violence, Amirah is not worried about his suspended sentences, although it is unlikely he will be able to participate in demonstrations.

“This is Israel’s way of preventing a figure like Munther from leading protests, which is the most prominent form of nonviolent struggle in the occupied territories,” Lasky said. “Israel is able to fight back against nonviolent struggle in one way only — by marking, jailing, and removing its leaders from the demonstrations.”

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.
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