Bil'in Filmmaker Barred Entry to Israel Despite Acquittal

Imad Bornat was acquitted over a year ago on charges of assaulting an officer, but Israeli police still regard his case as 'open'.

Although photojournalist Imad Bornat from Bil'in was acquitted over a year ago on charges of assaulting an officer, police still regard his case as "open" and continue to bar him from entering Israel.

Photojournalist Imad Bornat will not be able to attend the screening of his film in Tel Aviv.

For this reason, Bornat will not be able to attend the Tel Aviv screening tomorrow of part of his film in progress, "Five Broken Cameras." The screening is set to take place before a crowd of producers and representatives of television stations from around the world.

According to director Guy Davidi, the film documents five years of struggle against the separation fence and how the repression of demonstrations against it have affected individual lives.

In November 2008, Bornat was severely injured in a car accident, requiring treatments he received in Israel. But in September 2009 his request to enter Israel was denied. Gabi Lasky, an attorney who represents dozens of Bil'in residents, subsequently learned that Bornat's request had been denied for reasons related to "police prevention" - stemming from a criminal record from 2006.

However, in April 2009, Bornat had been acquitted of all the relevant charges. And since September 2009, Lasky's office has contacted various police officials on Bornat's behalf - including the police's legal advisor, the officer in charge of individuals barred from entering Israel and the head of the acquittals section in the verdicts department - requesting that the error be corrected.

Appeals were also made to the military prosecution and a pre-High Court appeal was filed with the State Attorney's Office. All of these appeals were accompanied by the relevant documents, but to no avail.

"According to the existing records of the Israel Police," a police spokesman told Haaretz on Sunday, "the case is still open and with the military prosecution. Once its results are received, the lifting of the prevention order will be considered according to the standard criteria."

The criminal case against Bornat was opened in October 2006, after he had been arrested by Border Police officers following a protest in his village, where he had been taking pictures. Eyewitnesses initially said the officers beat Bornat, but later testified in court that he had been hit in the face by a radio device that fell on him while he was in the car.