Four Detained in Haifa Courthouse Brawl During Hearing for Murder Defendant

Fight breaks out in Haifa court between supporters of Julis mayor and relatives of the man he allegedly killed.

Families of murder victim Munir Nabuani and the man charged in his death, Julis Mayor Salman Amar, brawl in Haifa District Court, Jan. 23, 2017.
Rami Shlush

Police used pepper spray to break up a fight that broke out Monday morning in the Haifa District Court during a detention hearing for the mayor of the northern Israeli town of Julis, who has been charged with the September murder of a local man.

Four people were detained for questioning after the incident, and the police later said that two Julis men, one in his 20s and the other in his 50s, were charged with disturbing the peace.

Mayor Salman Amar was charged in October with murder in the shooting death of Munir Nabuani, a local building contractor.

The fights broke out after Amars defense lawyers asked the court to approve an alternative to prison for their client during his trial. Members of Nabuanis family objected to the request. The interaction between people began with verbal violence that escalated into physical violence, in the corridor, after some individuals were removed from the courtroom by guards.

Police officers and courthouse guards who were dispatched to the scene used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Relatives of Wijdan Abu Hamid, a 17-year-old high school student who was murdered in December in the Druze village of Kisra, also joined in the fight. They were at the courthouse to witness the indictment of Abu Hamids alleged murderer, and apparently thought they were attacking relatives of the suspect.