An Israeli court has sentenced a Palestinian poet to five months in prison over poems she posted on her social media account.
Dareen Tatour, an Israeli citizen, was convicted of inciting terrorism and violence through her poems, when she used her writings as the soundtrack to images of Palestinian protesters clashing with Israeli troops.
The 36-year-old reportedly posted the poem titled “QawemYaSha’abi, Qawemhum” (“Resist my people, resist them”) on Facebook and YouTube.
Tatour, a resident of the Galilee village of Reineh near Nazareth, was initially arrested in October 2015.
The indictment against her included a translation of the poem, with the lines: “I will not succumb to the ‘peaceful solution’ / Never lower my flags / Until I evict them from my land.”
“The content, its exposure and the circumstances of its publication created a real possibility that acts of violence or terrorism will be committed,” the indictment claimed.
Tatour insisted the poem was misinterpreted and mistranslated.
“They didn't understand my poem," Tatour told Reuters news agency. "There is no call for violence. There is a struggle, they cast it as violent."
She spent three months in detention before being placed on house arrest for two years. It took her a lengthy legal battle to return to her parents’ home. Once at her house, her family was reportedly forced to disconnect the internet. For months, she had to walk around with an ankle monitor.
However, following the latest court ruling, Tatour said she wasn’t surprised by the verdict.
“I expected prison and that’s what happened. I didn’t expect justice. The prosecution was political to begin with because I’m Palestinian, because it’s about free speech and I’m imprisoned because I'm Palestinian. My trial ripped off the masks,” Tatour stated in May.
“The whole world will hear my story. The whole world will hear what Israel’s democracy is. A democracy for Jews only. Only Arabs go to jail. The court said I am convicted of terrorism. If that's my terrorism, I give the world a terrorism of love,” she added.
The Palestinian poet will reportedly enter prison on August 8th and will serve for less than two months with credit for time served.
“The prosecution asked for a 15-26 month sentence. The court was satisfied with five months including time served, which means she only has two months left in prison. We believe that poetry is not a crime, and thus will appeal the ruling,” said her attorney, Gaby Lasky.
It really makes no sense how a person could be penalized so heavily for voicing their thoughts on their personal accounts. That’s basic freedom of speech and the fact Israeli authorities would punish someone for that shows how it’s exploiting its power to silence people who speak in support of resistance against the occupying regime.
The poet’s case has drawn attention toward a recent surge in arrest of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who are accused of inciting or planning attacks online.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS, Ammar Awad