J14 protest leader Daphni Leef’s arraignment on charges dating back to a protest
she participated in around six months ago was postponed Monday until January 23,
after police failed to notify her regarding the hearing until the last minute
and she refused to attend.
Leef’s attorney Gabi Lasky told The Jerusalem
Post that the “indictment is not just against Daphni; all the protesters are
According to Lasky, Leef was not informed of the
indictment and hearing until late Sunday night when the police phoned
Lasky said that Leef only learned of the actual charges against her
– including using violence to prevent arrest, obstructing a police officer and
taking part in a disturbance – through the media, as the police representative
who called her gave her no specific information.
Lasky herself was only
hired in a rush even later Sunday night and she appeared on Leef’s behalf in
court this morning.
Lasky slammed the police for not notifying Leef
sooner and for filing an indictment against her in November without sending her
Only in court this morning did Lasky officially receive a copy
from police, she said.
At the hearing, Lasky told the court that “it is a
pity” the police failed to notify Leef earlier as “it’s not very hard to find
After the hearing, Lasky said she could not yet respond to the
allegations since she still had not received the evidence underlying the
She also called the police’s failure to notify Leef in the
normal course outright “negligence.”
The bizarre turn of events simply
highlighted further the already odd case in which the state attorney refused to
indict Leef, and the police hired its own counsel to do so.
the alleged failure to notify Leef in the normal course, the Justice Ministry
spokesman said, “We have no connection with this case.”
spokesman said he knew nothing about the case and another spokesman did not
answer her telephone.
The indictment, originally filed on November 1,
2012, alleges that Leef and hundreds of other protesters began attacking police
and municipal workers who came to break up an illegal protest they were holding
on Rothschild Boulevard.
The indictment alleges that while Leef was being
arrested, other protesters began attacking and disturbing police in an attempt
to free her, and that Leef herself sat on the ground in order to prevent them
from taking her away, an act that it says severely complicated the police
Leef and other protesters, for their part, accused police of using
violence and excessive force in breaking up the protest.
Lasky said that
the indictment conveniently left out Leef’s hand being broken. It is documented
that Leef suffered a hand injury and was sent for medical care.
attorney said there would be no secrets in the trial as the incident was one of
the most videotaped of such events in recent memory, and that she would have
plenty of video footage and witnesses to testify on Leef’s behalf.
added that many had “called the police’s decision to use force to clear the
protests a strategic error, this is a much bigger strategic error.”
protest was followed the next night by a protest march in Tel Aviv during which
some demonstrators broke bank windows and dozens were arrested, in what was then
seen as the beginning of a new, more heated version of the social justice
movement of the previous summer.
Leef could not be reached Sunday night,
but wrote on her Twitter on Monday: “an indictment?? they’re presenting an
indictment against me??”
Hadash MK Dov Henin released a press release saying he
had attended the hearing.
He said that as a “member of Knesset I am
embarrassed. The state needs to apologize to Daphni, not to bring her to
Ben Hartman contributed to this story.
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