Beit Ommar Teacher Remains in Prison as Trial is Delayed

23 August 2011

23 August: Beit Ommar resident Majde Za’aqiq – a 38 year old elementary school teacher – today remains imprisoned in an Israeli jail, after an Israeli military court yesterday took the decision to extend his detention without any charge or trial date.

Majde was arrested on Saturday, when Beit Ommar’s peaceful demonstration against the illegal settlement of Karmei Tsur was attacked by the Israeli military (report here). He was taken by the military – along with an international activist who has since been released – from a car, as he was leaving the demonstration. An entirely fabricated accusation of throwing stones was given as the reason for his arrest.

After being held in jail for two days, Majde was taken to an Israeli military court in Ofar, West Bank. There, the prosecution failed to produce enough evidence to go forward with a charge for the trial, instead claiming it needed more time to gather evidence from the soldiers who were present. The judge obliged, and delayed the trial, condemning Majde to further detention without charge or trial.

Majde’s detention leaves his two young sons, over whom he has sole guardianship, without their father.

His arrest also coincides with the start of the new school year, meaning that Majde’s class will be without their teacher for the beginning of the year. Furthermore, Majde’s eldest child, who is deaf, is due to start the year at a special school for deaf children.