Palestinian Activist Convicted of Illegal Protest, Assault, Lawyer Says

TEL AVIV (Reuters/Hamodia ) -
Palestinian activist Issa Amro is pushed back by an Israeli solider during clashes at a protest in Chevron, in 2018. (REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma/File Photo)

An Israeli military court on Wednesday convicted a Palestinian rights activist of offenses in Yehuda and Shomron, his lawyer said.

The military did not immediately provide Reuters with the Ofer military court’s verdict against Issa Amro of the city of Chevron, and arguments over sentencing will await a further hearing on Feb. 8.

Amro denied the charges, which included protesting without a permit, obstructing Israeli soldiers’ activities in the flashpoint city of Chevron and assaulting a Jewish resident.

Amro, 40, founded an activist group that regularly protests against Israeli construction in the city. Under heavy Israeli military protection, around 1,000 Jewish residents live there among 200,000 Palestinians.

“It doesn’t make sense to punish someone for non-violent resistance,” Amro told Reuters. “The Israeli military system exists only to oppress Palestinians and restrict freedom of speech.”

Amro was convicted on six of 18 charges against him, in incidents that occurred between 2010 and 2016, his lawyer, Gaby Lasky, said.

Lasky said it was hard to predict whether Amro would face prison time, but that a Palestinian in a similar case received a 10-month term.

Amnesty International claimed the charges against Amro were “politically motivated and linked to his peaceful work in exposing Israel’s human rights violations.”

The group has also condemned as “disgraceful” charges brought against Amro by the Palestinian Authority.

Amnesty said the PA has accused him of “disturbing public order” and “insulting higher authorities” over Facebook posts in 2017 critical of Palestinian leaders.

Amro said his next Palestinian court hearing is on Jan. 20.

Updated Sunday, January 10, 2021 at 1:57 pm .