Mazuz to indict Hadash chair Barakei

MK, who allegedly disrupted police during protest, denounces "attempt to intimidate" Arab population.

Barakei 248 88 (photo credit: Knesset )
Barakei 248 88
(photo credit: Knesset )
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on Tuesday announced his intention to file an indictment against Hadash chairman Muhammad Barakei for disrupting police during a protest against Defense Minister Ehud Barak in 2007. Barakei had joined family members of Arab Israelis killed during the October 2000 riots in protesting against Barak while the Labor chairman was addressing supporters in Nazareth. Barak was prime minister when the Second Intifada and the rioting inside Israel broke out. Barakei slammed the decision to indict him, saying, "the attorney general considers calls to murder Arab MKs part of free speech while closing the investigations regarding October 2000. This is an attempt to intimidate the Arab population in order to deny it its basic right to resistance." In February, Mazuz informed Barakei that he was facing indictment for offenses allegedly committed while he participated in three separate demonstrations in recent years. The first set of allegations concerns a 2005 protest in the West Bank town of Bil'in, where protesters against the security barrier frequently clash with police and soldiers. At that protest, police say, Barakei attacked a member of the Israel Prisons Service's Massada quick response and intervention force while he was taking a detainee toward a police car. In that case, the prosecution is considering charging Barakei with attacking a law-enforcement officer. The second incident occurred during a protest near the Carmel Market in south Tel Aviv in August 2006. Barakei allegedly yelled threats at a police officer and made obscene gestures, leading prosecutors to consider indicting the MK for offending a public employee. And in the third case, Barakei allegedly attacked a passerby who insulted far-Left activist Uri Avneri while Barakei and Avneri were participating in a demonstration at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square in July 2006. Prosecutors are considering charging him with assault. Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report