Israeli Social Protest Leader Daphni Leef Refuses Plea Bargain Over Police Clash

Leef refuses to settle for anything less than the withdrawal of the indictment.

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
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Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

The police have failed to reach a compromise over charges against social protest leader Daphni Leef. The police prosecution division indicted Leef seven months ago for her part in protests in Tel Aviv last summer, accusing her of participation in a riot, using force and threats to prevent her arrest, and interfering with a police officer.

The police are willing to forgo criminal charges on condition that Leef admit that she committed the acts attributed to her, in which case she will serve 60 hours of community service. However, Leef refuses to settle for anything less than the withdrawal of the indictment.

At a hearing Sunday morning in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court against seven people arrested during last summer's social protests, Judge Tzahi Ouziel asked about the mediation in Leef's case. He was told that there had been only one meeting in the past two months - last week, with no progress.

Defense attorney Gabi Lasky said the delay was the fault of the police for sending a low-level officer to the mediation who does not have the authority to decide.

The police representative denied the allegation and said the process was moving along. However, the judge ordered that another meeting be held in early July with a higher-level officer present.

"I have asked the prosecution to consider ending this process in a way that will not leave an imprint on anyone and will not hurt anyone's future," the judge said, adding that he believed the prosecution was willing to end the proceedings without criminal convictions. Leef said in the hearing she would not confess and preferred to stand trial to prove her innocence.

The judge, who asked Leef to reconsider, told her that she should "take into account that sometimes it's better to end a criminal proceeding in the early stages with something smaller, without a conviction."

Daphni Leef in court on Sunday June 9, 2013. Credit: David Bachar

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