The state on Sunday indicted Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh on four separate counts in connection with four incidents over a period of two years.
Barakeh has one month to decide whether or not he wants to ask the Knesset to recognize that his parliamentary immunity applies to the indictment. If he does not ask the Knesset, or if the Knesset refuses, he will stand trial in Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court.
Adalah, the Legal Center for Minority Rights in Israel, declared that the indictment against Barakeh was based on false testimony which Barakeh completely denied.
According to the indictment, Barakeh participated in a protest against the security barrier at Bil'in on April 28, 2005. When a soldier arrested one of the demonstrators, Barakeh allegedly choked him with his right hand and struck the soldier's hands with his left, while shouting to nearby demonstrators, "free him, free him."
For this, he was charged with assaulting a person performing a duty or function assigned to him by law, a felony that carries a maximum five-year sentence.
On August 5, 2006, Barakeh took part in a demonstration in Tel Aviv's Carmel Market against the Second Lebanon War. When his son, a minor, was detained by police officer Sharon Harpaz, Barakeh began shouting at him, "you are violent and you will pay dearly for this."
He also called him "contemptible" and slapped him across the face three times with his fingers.
For this, he was charged with insulting a public servant, a crime punishable by six months in jail.
On July 22, 2006, while taking part in another demonstration against the war in Lebanon, Barakeh allegedly struck a photographer, Yitzhak Hananya, in the ribs and shoulder, after Hananya had insulted left-wing activist Uri Avnery.
For this he was charged with common assault, a misdemeanor punishable by two years in jail.
On July 7, 2007, during a protest in Nazareth, Barakeh allegedly ordered Dep. Cmdr. Avraham Haliwa to release Hadash secretary-general Aiman Uda from arrest.
When Haliwa replied that as an MK, Barakeh should try to calm the protesters, he said, "shut your mouth, you idiot. What are you doing? You're crazy, go to hell."
For this, Barakeh was charged with hindering a police officer in the performance of his duty, a felony carrying a maximum sentence of three years.
Adalah charged that it had evidence proving that during the Bil'in protest, which, it said, was the main incident in the indictment, it was the police and those dressed as Arabs who attacked the demonstrators, including Barakeh, and used tear gas and shock grenades against them.
Barakeh complained to the Justice Ministry's Police Investigation Department about their behavior but the department did not investigate the complaint, said Adalah.
The organization charged that the indictment was politically motivated and that it wanted to criminalize purely political and legitimate events and to sully Barakeh's reputation.
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