The trial of 11 activists belonging to the group Anarchists Against The Wall reached its end today after about three years. Seven of the defendants had their convictions for illegal assembly and destruction of public property set aside in exchange for 80 hours of community service. The verdict for three other defendants was postpone to the 18th of March because of a demand for combining these indictments with previous indictments for political activity. Jonathan Pollak received a three month suspended sentence.
In a packed courtroom, full of supporters the verdict was read in the first trial of the group Anarchist Against The Wall. The charges stemmed from arrests at a demonstration in front of the army headquarters on February 3 2004. That day marked the beginning of the proceedings in the international court of justice at the HagueKaplan street, in front of the army headquarters and graffiti-ed its walls. about the legality of the apartheid wall. Earlier in the day the activists were prevented from reaching a demonstration near Tul Karem and in response they blocked.
Pollak refused to cooperate with the probation services and asked the court to sentence him to an actual jail term and not a suspended sentence . His reasons were explained in a statement he read in the court room.
Jonathan Pollak's statement:
“This trial, if it had not taken place in a court of the occupation, in the democracy imposed on 3.5 million Palestinian subjects devoid of basic democratic liberties, would have been the trial of the Wall; that same wall that was defined as illegal by the highest legal authority in the world; that same wall that is used as a political tool in the campaign of ethnic cleansing being undertaken by Israel in the Occupied Territories; that same wall that in its previous route, that route of the relevant days, was thrown out even by Israeli courts! It was not us who should have been standing accused here, but rather the architects and enforcers of Israeli Apartheid.”
“I will state that while this is indeed my first conviction, it is unlikely to be my last. I still believe that what I did was necessary and morally correct, and that resistance to oppression is the duty of every human being, even at a personal price.”
“It is customary to ask for leniency - not to impose an active sentence, and to be satisfied with a conditional sentence. I will ask not to have a conditional sentence imposed on me, but an active one, since as things are, any demonstration taking place in the Occupied Territories is declared illegal assembly, according to the extensive and anti-democratic system of closed military zone warrants. In this state of affairs, any conditional sentence imposed upon me will quickly become an active one. If your honor believes one should be sent to prison for such acts, send me to prison yourself, here and now.”
The judge did not grant Pollak's request and sentenced him to a 3 month suspended sentence which will be imposed if Pollak is convicted of illegal assembly in the next two years. The judge stated that he avoided imposing a fine because he knew that Pollak will not pay it.
The members of the group were represented by Adv. Gaby Lasky who has been the group’s lawyer for several years.
The line of defense Lasky used was based on the principles of civil resistance, and used international law, mainly the Nuremberg and Tokyo war crimes tribunals, to legally justify breaking local law in order to uphold international law.