Judge clears name of left-wing Israeli activist held in security crimes case

Judge lifts gag order on case of Ezra Nawi, who was arrested last week at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Ezra Nawi (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ezra Nawi
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ezra Nawi was named on Thursday as the left-wing activist arrested at Ben-Gurion Airport last week on suspicion of security crimes, as a Jerusalem District Court Judge lifted a gag order on the case.
The order had been issued after Nawi’s name and photograph had already been widely published in the Israeli media.
Judge Moshe Yoad Hacohen said in his ruling that, “There is no further reason to keep this case confidential, considering the reports that have already been published and also due to the fact that public interest requires that the hearings be open as long as this doesn’t harm the investigation or other public interests.”
He added that, along with the security matters, there are also “public and political” considerations that require the hearings be made public.
At a hearing on Wednesday, Nawi was remanded until Sunday, after which Hacohen said he will weigh alternatives to detention.
In a protocol of Wednesday’s hearing, an attorney for Nawi is quoted as saying, “This is a sham investigation and in the end nothing will come of it” and that the investigation is “scandalous” and “nothing more than a political investigation.”
The gag order was also lifted on the name of Guy Butavia, a left-wing activist arrested on Tuesday evening as part of the case. The name of a Palestinian field worker for B’Tselem who was arrested on Wednesday remains under gag order.
Nawi was arrested last week following the broadcast of Channel 2’s Uvda program, in which he boasted about setting up Palestinian landowners looking to sell land to Jews and turns them over to the PA security service. He is then seen boasting about how the men are then tortured and murdered.
“Straight away I give their pictures and phone numbers to the Preventive Security Force,” he is heard saying in reference to the PA’s counterintelligence arm. “The Palestinian Authority catches them and kills them. But before it kills them, they get beat up a lot.”
Police have said the charges against Nawi include contact with a foreign agent – a security crime – for his dealings with the PA’s Preventive Security Service.
Hacohen said that while the charges for contact with a foreign agent “are open to dispute on legal grounds,” his detention should continue as the investigation proceeds.
The investigation is being carried out by the Nationalist Crimes Unit of the Judea and Samaria police, which also handles “price tag” attacks and other violent crimes committed by Jews against Palestinians.