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Photo by: Courtesy Michal Grossberg
Case closed against social activist Daphni Leef
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
01/04/2014
State also closes cases of 10 other activists; Leef was accused of using force against police and resisting arrest.
 
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Tuesday ordered the closing of the case against social activist Daphni Leef.

Police had accused Leef of “using force” and resisting arrest. She countered that police improperly roughed her up at a June 2012 protest.

Leef said before the opening of her trial that the police were trying to oppress her and other’s free speech, but that she would not back down and hoped “cooler thinking” prevailed over “thuggery.”

From the beginning, the case was controversial as the State Attorney’s Office refused to file it, opposed the police filing it and the police had to use its own independent counsel to move the case forward.

Nearly three months ago, despite the difficulties, the police started the trial that was widely perceived as a further embarrassment for them.

The case was plagued by many other legal issues, as it was based on a police officer’s word that he saw Leef push another officer, who did not himself report being pushed.

Pointedly, the Justice Ministry statement announcing the case’s closing did not mention Leef, though much of the critical media coverage of the police has centered around her case.

As if anticipating further criticism of the police for filing cases that the state attorney opposed initially and Weinstein has closed, the statement adamantly defended the police. It said that the reevaluation said nothing about the police’s conduct or the separate question about the correctness of filing the cases when they were filed.

Reacting to the news, Leef told The Jerusalem Post that “this is a happy day. I want to thank my lawyer and in the same breath I am sure that even if the trial in court had continued, I would have emerged acquitted.”

She added, “the police is the body that has saved itself additional embarrassment,” by withdrawing the indictment.

On Tuesday, Weinstein ordered the police to drop the cases of 10 other social activists and four others were notified that the state was considering suspending theirs as well.

In February, the Justice Ministry announced that all cases relating to the social justice protests, which would include leader Leef, were being reevaluated by Weinstein.

Leef became nationally famous as the face of the summer 2011 social justice tent protest movement, which at one point had accumulated hundreds of thousands of protesters – with some setting up tents in public areas. Among other things, they protested against poor housing and living options, especially for the lower class sector but also for the middle class.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
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