Palestinian Sentenced to Year in Prison for 'Facebook Incitement’

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The Ofer military court.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

A Bethlehem resident was sentenced Thursday to one year in prison after he was convicted of incitement in his Facebook posts.

Kusai Issa, 22, posted messages encouraging and supporting terror activities, according to the charge sheet presented against him at the Ofer military court.

The posts were made on October 4-8, at the beginning of the violence wave, under the name “Shahid [martyr] in waiting,” according to the charges.

In one case Issa was charged for posting a photo of one of the assailants, which garnered praise from his Facebook friends. The next day he put up a clip captioned: “The clip is more than amazing and shows how a freedom fighter kills four Zionist soldiers with a knife,” according to the indictment.

On October 7 Issa is charged with posting: “The youngsters confronting the occupation, put your shirts under your trousers because the mista’arvim [members of IDF counterterrorism units dressed as Palestinians] put it outside their trousers to hide the gun – post this and defend our nation’s youngsters.”

Issa was arrested last October and has been in custody since. His verdict was handed down as part of a plea bargain, under which he is also required to pay a 2,000-shekel fine.

Issa’s attorney, Mohammed Shahin of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, said the military prosecution presented his various posts and said they won much support and were shared by many.

Shahin said the prosecution first demanded a 15-month prison term, among other things because Issa’s posts had 18,000 followers and therefore, according to the prosecution, his influence was great.

Shahin said these offenses carry a sentence of eight months to two years, according to the posts’ circulation.

On Thursday morning police arrested Bassam Safadi, an Arab journalist from the north of the country and an Iranian television reporter, on suspicion of publishing “support for a terrorist organization and incitement to violence or terror.”

The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court extended his custody to Sunday.

The Iranian Al-Alam channel that Safadi, 43, works for reported his arrest and claimed he had broadcast numerous reports about Israel’s conduct in the Golan Heights, including what he called “gas stealing from the Syrian Golan.”

Safadi’s wife said police and troops came to their home late at night and arrested her husband, confiscating a large amount of equipment, including telephones.

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