Israeli Social Protest Leader Leef Charged With Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest

Tel Aviv court postpones hearing after police failed to inform Daphni Leef to appear in the courthouse in advance.

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The first hearing in the trial of Daphni Leef, a leader of the socioeconomic protests of 2011, has been postponed until January 23 - one day after the general election.

Leef learned about the indictment only on Sunday, when she was summoned to a hearing at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court for Monday. Thus when she showed up she requested a postponement to let her study the material against her, and the court acquiesced.

The indictment, filed by the police's prosecution department, accuses her of participating in a riot, interfering with a policeman in the line of duty and using force or threats to resist arrest. It relates to a demonstration on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard on June 22 last year.

According to the police, the demonstration was illegal, and demonstrators "disturbed the peace in a way that could intimidate the public." Leef "led the angry demonstrators and encouraged their acts against [municipal] inspectors and policemen," the indictment added.

Leef, 27, completely rejects the charges. "I've been fighting to make this [country] a better place for a year and a half now," she told Haaretz yesterday. "There's something crazy about receiving an indictment that has no basis in reality."

She speculated that she was indicted simply because she was a leader of the social protests, and said she was confident she would prove her innocence. She's also considering suing the police for hurting her during the demonstration where she was arrested; Leef ended the evening with a broken hand.

Her attorney, Gabi Lasky, said the police admitted a few days after the demonstration that "the arrest was a mistake. We'll prove that this indictment is an even greater mistake."

Social protest leader Daphni Leef holding up indictment against her in court, Tel Aviv, January 7, 2013.Credit: Moti Milrod
The arrest of protest leader Daphne Leef in June, 2012, marking a violent turn for the movement.Credit: Alon Ron
Police arrest protest leader Daphni Leef in Tel Aviv, June 22, 2012. Credit: Alon Ron

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