Israeli Arab Poet Dareen Tatour, Convicted of Incitement, Released From Prison

Tatour served five months after being convicted of incitement to violence and supporting terrorism over a poem. 'I will continue writing'

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Dareen Tatour leaves prison on September 20, 2018.
Dareen Tatour leaves prison on September 20, 2018.Credit: Rami Shlush

Israeli Arab poet Dareen Tatour was released from prison on Thursday after serving a sentence for incitement to violence and supporting terrorist organizations in social media posts.

"I am very happy to have freedom at least after three years in prison, remand, house arrest with an electronic cuff and again house arrest," Tatour told reporters. "At last I'm free, and I will continue writing. I will not stop. Of course I won't. The whole case was about a poem."

Tatour was sentenced to five months in prison in July, having already served 97 days after her arrest in October 2015. She was arrested in a period when lone-wolf stabbing attacks on Israelis were practically a daily event. Tatour, 36, a resident of the Galilee village of Reineh, near Nazareth, was arrested after posting, among others, a poem titled “Resist, my people, resist them."

Tatour appealed her conviction.

The indictment included a translation of the poem, with the lines: "I will not succumb to the 'peaceful solution' / Never lower my flags / Until I evict them from my land."

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After three months in detention, Tatour had been released to house arrest, with an electronic cuff. Four months later she was allowed to leave the house for two hours on weekends, if accompanied. She was not allowed to use a mobile phone or internet, restrictions which had no precedent, her lawyer, Gaby Lasky said.

Initially Tatour had denied any connection with the posts. After changing lawyers in November 2016, she admitted to publishing the poem, but claimed it had been mistranslated.

The police officer who translated it knows spoken and literary Arabic, and speaks Arabic as his mother tongue, the state claimed.

The indictment included two other poems by Tatour.

One said, "Allah Akbar and Baruch Hashem, Islamic Jihad declared intifada throughout the whole West Bank and expansion to all Palestine. We should begin inside the Green Line," a post that got 35 likes. The second showed the wedding of Asra’a Abed, a Nazareth resident who was shot and wounded after drawing a knife at the central bus station of Afula, with the post, "I'm the next martyr."

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