The legal defence team of Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib has appealed against the decision to extend his detention, Anadolu has reported. The head of the Freedoms Committee of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel (HFC) was arrested at his home in Kafr Kanna last month and a magistrates' court in Nazareth has extended the detention order.
The details were provided in a statement issued by the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (ADALAH). Sheikh Al-Khatib was arrested at the peak of the demonstrations in which thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel took part in protest at the Israeli attacks on Jerusalem and Gaza in May.
The Israeli Public Prosecutor has charged Al-Khatib of joining a "banned organisation", a reference to the Islamic Movement, as well as incitement. The Palestinian leader denies the charges.
"The magistrates' court used the arrest of Sheikh Al-Khatib as a punitive order prior to any conviction," explained Attorney Hassan Jabareen, ADALAH's managing director. "We confirmed to the court that it was not possible to go through with the indictment. We presented our evidence regarding the problems and loopholes as it is a political indictment, which includes about eight pages that list the police account of incidents that took place prior to the uprising and the events in Jaffa."
He added that the lawyers refused to respond to the illegal materials in the indictment. "The hearing was postponed until 5 July in order to obtain the materials we requested from the Public Prosecutor."
ADALAH believes that the decision to extend Al-Khatib's detention, which was issued a few days ago, "is part of attempts made by the police and the prosecution to terrorise and deter Palestinians from expressing their legitimate protests against oppression."
The situation in all of the occupied Palestinian territories has escalated following "brutal" attacks carried out by the Israeli police and settlers since 13 April in Jerusalem. In particular these were the attacks at the Damascus Gate, Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings, and Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where the occupation authorities attempted to evict 12 Palestinian families from their homes.