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Israeli court defers hearing into the case of Jerusalem MP

February 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm

An Israeli court yesterday deferred its hearing into the case of Shaikh Muhammad Abu Tayr, the elected member of the Palestinian legislature for Jerusalem. The next hearing will be held on 8th December, by which time the court expects to hear from the Israeli Minister of the Interior.

Shaikh Abu Tayr’s defence lawyer, Osama Al-Sa’adi, asked the court to release his client on bail pending the hearing. The court insisted that the request would only be approved if Abu Tayr promises that he will not enter Jerusalem unless he obtains permission from the Israeli Interior Minister. This was described by Mr. Al-Sa’adi as “blackmail and enforced recognition of the legitimacy and authority of the Interior Minister”. The world does not recognise Israel’s annexation of the parts of Jerusalem it has occupied since 1967; in international law, therefore, Israel’s Minister of the Interior has no authority in occupied Jerusalem. As such, Osama Al-Sa’adi said that his client would rather remain in custody than be expelled from or prevented from entering the city of his birth.

Muhammad Abu Tayr was kidnapped by Israeli occupation forces near his home in Sour Baher, Jerusalem, in June. He is threatened with “deportation” along with other Jerusalem members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, all of whom were elected in the free and fair democratic elections of 2006. Israeli police sources said at the time of his kidnap that Shaikh Abu Tayr was being arrested for “illegal residence in Jerusalem”.