Court drops case against Druse who visited Syria, Lebanon

Sheikhs traveled to countries to visit religious sites; Druse religious leaders vow not to do so again without proper permit.

May 20, 2014 22:41
Druse man looks out at Syria from the Golan

Druse man looks out at Syria from the Golan 370 (R). (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday dismissed the case against 16 Druse sheikhs who traveled without permits to Syria and Lebanon.

Before the court ruled on the sentencing of the sheikhs, the state prosecutor reached an understanding whereby Sheikh Muwafak Tareef, the spiritual head of the Druse community in Israel, and other Druse leaders, signed a statement ordering all members of their community “not to travel to Syria and Lebanon without obtaining the required permit from state authorities.”

Also, the defendants signed a pledge to respect the law prohibiting visits to enemy states without permits.

In 2011, the 16 sheikhs were indicted and charged with illegally traveling to Syria and Lebanon.

Because of the circumstances, that the sheikhs traveled to these countries to visit religious sites and that significant time has elapsed since the events occurred, the court made the unusual decision as an act of trust in the defendants and the heads of the Druse community that such trips will not be repeated without a permit.

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