The Beersheba District Court ruled Thursday that it would not convict a Bedouin student studying medicine in Jordan, two years after he was charged with serious security offenses, the Haaretz newspaper reported Sunday.
Taer Jouda had been accused of contacting an enemy agent and harming state security by distributing course materials to new students who were members of a Hamas-affiliated group.
Judge Daniel Ben Tolila ruled that distributing the class notes had not caused actual harm. He ordered the defendant to do 120 hours of community service.
“This does not involve someone who provided direct assistance to someone from Hamas or a military group affiliated with Hamas, but rather he provided a service to an entity that is civilian in nature, Hamas’s student association,” the judge found.
Jouda, a resident of the southern Israeli Bedouin settlement of Arara, expressed regret, saying, “I made contact with people whom I don’t know …I only wanted to help people with the [class] summaries.”
הסיפור של הסטודנט לרפואה תאיר ג'ודה, שאביו מתאר כ"הבן הכי חנון שלי", עשוי היה להיות מצחיק אם לא היה כל כך מייאש. ראש…
Jouda was picked up by the Shin Bet security services during a visit to Israel to see his family in summer 2017. He was held for a month in isolation, during which he said he was subjected to violent interrogation, held in painful positions, and denied access to a lawyer for most of the period.
Jouda’s lawyer claimed that the Shin Bet had tried to recruit the student to provide information about goings on at the Irbid National University, where he studies, but that he had refused.
The district court and Supreme Court denied a request to extend his detention, enabling him to return to Irbid University to continue his studies.
State prosecutors filed charges last July. They first accused Joudeh of talking to a fellow student who was also a Hamas activist. Jouda explained that the student had asked about the difference between the northern and southern branches of Israel’s Islamic movement. The former is banned in Israel while the latter operates legally. The court criticized this charge some time ago and it was dropped.
The second charge accused Jouda of distributing summaries of course materials to new students who were members of a Hamas-affiliated group. The materials concerned the curriculum. But the prosecution argued this amounted to contacting an enemy agent and harming state security — an assertion that the Beersheba District Court shot down.