Prominent Palestinian activist Issa Amro is on trial in an Israeli military court this afternoon on accusations of inciting violence, despite opposition from rights groups and several US lawmakers.
The trial began at the Ofer military court in the West Bank, but was adjourned until October 22, after two soldiers testified about the February 26, 2016 demonstration where Amro is accused of “inciting violence.”
Amro is the founder of Youth Against Settlements, a campaign group in the city of Hebron in the West Bank.
In June 2016, he was charged 18 times, some for events dating back to 2010, according to Amnesty International, who said the Israeli charges do not “stand up to any scrutiny.”
Speaking to reporters outside the court, the 37-year-old Amro calls the trial a “joke” and says he has no trust that Israel’s military justice system will treat him fairly.
His lawyer Gaby Lasky told reporters the “Israeli military cannot stop non-violent demonstrations with weapons, so they’re doing it through [the] criminalization of … freedom of speech and freedom of demonstration.”
An IDF spokesman has said evidence would be presented that Amro had “taken part in riots, attacks on soldiers, calls to violence, and prevented security forces from doing their work.”
Last month, for Democratic lawmakers circulated a letter calling for the US to urge Israel to drop the charges against Amro citing free speech.
— AFP & JTA