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Ethiopia-Israel protester faces 6-year prison sentence for allegedly torching police car 

Demonstrators stage a protest against the killing of Solomon Tekah, a young man of Ethiopian origin, who was killed by an off-duty police officer, near Azrieli Tower in Tel Aviv, Israel on 8 July, 2019 [Oren Ziv/Anadolu Agency]

An Ethiopian-Israeli protester accused of torching a police car during demonstrations against police violence in Israel is facing a six-year prison sentence.

Eitan Mahareto, 24, is being tried on charges of incitement, arson, and vandalism for setting fire to the car during massive protests in July after an off-duty police officer shot and killed Ethiopian-Israeli teen Solomon Teka.

The prosecution and defence teams are currently in negotiations over the charges. It has been reported that there has been an agreement to drop the charge of attacking a police officer from the list.

Mahareto has four prior convictions for crimes against the police, and was allegedly five months into his six-month probation when he torched a police car with others.

READ: Israel prevents student missions from visiting Ethiopia

His mother has claimed that she has not seen him since he was detained.

Teka was shot dead by an off-duty police officer, sparking protests about racism against Ethiopian Jews.

Ethiopian protest leader Yayo Avraham said of the case: “If Teka’s murder had not taken place, there would have been no indictment and over six months’ detention. We won’t stop until the young people who went to protest return home safely.”

Israel has a history of discriminating against Ethiopian Jews, resulting in a blood-dumping scandal in 1996, where blood donated by Ethiopian Jews was dumped due to “fears of AIDs.”

Officials said the blood was dumped in secret, so as not to “stigmatise” the donors.

Ethiopian Jewish women were also injected with contraceptives regularly by Israeli doctors without their knowledge or consent, suspected to have caused the birth rate of the community to plummet.

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