The Jerusalem Police yesterday lifted the gag order on the arrest of four Arab-Israeli lawyers, who are suspected of coordinating between imprisoned Islamic Jihad activists and the organization's leadership in Gaza.
One of the lawyers, Suheir Ayoub, 41, of Akko, was indicted yesterday at the Jerusalem District Court. According to the indictment, Ayoub was approached by a Jihad activist named Amar Ashur, also known as Abu Hamza, from Gaza. He allegedly hired her to transmit messages to and from the organization's activists imprisoned in Israel, which she is alleged to have done on two occasions.
To obtain the right to visit the prisoners, Ayoub told the Israel Prison Service she was representing them, though this was not the case.
"The accused received instructions from the prisoners whom she met from time to time," the indictment reads. "She then wrote down the messages and sent them to Abu Hamza or to other prisoners via fax or phone, for a fee of NIS 400 to NIS 800 per prisoner, which was paid by Abu Hamza through a bank transfer.
Ayoub is accused of abetting an illegal organization. Her fees are alleged to have been paid by a Jihad-linked movement, Mahajat Al-Quds, which was outlawed this year.
Attorney Wasim Dakwar, who represents Ayoub, said yesterday that his client rejects the allegations out of hand.
"She was visiting prisoners as part of her work as an attorney, without any connection to any illegal organization. She was honestly carrying out her duty as a lawyer and visited the prisoners in front of the Prison Service and the cameras that document every visit."
Dakwar added that officers in the minorities department of the Jerusalem Police claimed that Ayoub was in contact with a foreign agent, leading to an extension of her remand, but that this claim was disproved even before the indictment. This is a case, he said, in which the state crossed the red line in its approach to Arab lawyers visiting Palestinian prisoners. "It's self-evident that they are trigger happy when it comes to tapping lawyers and their clients," Dakwar said.
Three other lawyers were arrested together with Ayoub, but they were released on bail, with police saying that the three were still being investigated. Police said documents linking the lawyers to the alleged offenses have been found when their offices were searched.
Relatives of the three lawyers told Haaretz that the very fact they were released weeks ago and have not yet been indicted means they have nothing to do with the affair and have not broken any law.
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