5/11/2014Social justice movement leader Daphni Leef's trial opens in Tel Avivhttp://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=3393971/2
May 11, 2014 Sunday 11 Iyyar 5774 22:01 IST
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Photo by: YONAH JEREMY BOB
Social justice movement leader DaphniLeef's trial opens in Tel Aviv
By Yonah Jeremy Bob26/01/2014
Leef said at beginning of hearing that police were trying to suppress her freedom of expression, but she would not back down.
The trial of social justice movement leader Daphni Leef on charges of forcefully resisting arrest in a June 2012protest began Sunday in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court.She is basing her defense on a counter-charge of police brutality, arguing that they improperly roughed her upat the time of her arrest.Leef said before the hearing that the police had violated her right to free speech, as well as that of others, butthat she would not back down and hoped “cooler thinking” would prevail over “thuggery.”The case has been controversial, both because of the political implications of bringing a criminal caseassociated with a social justice protest and because the state prosecution refused to file the case, forcing thepolice to hire independent counsel on its behalf. Also, in September 2013, Leef’s legal team succeeded in uncovering that one of the policemen who arrestedher had a past history of roughing up protesters, which the police allegedly tried to conceal.The trial itself started with additional controversy, as police officer Yosef Shavi, who arrested Leef, and Leef’slawyer, Gabi Lasky, shouting at and inter rupting each other during cross-examination.When Lasky implied that Shavi was lying about having seen Leef push a police officer – the reason he gavefor arresting her – he raised his voice in anger, saying, “I saw what I saw. You can try to make me sound like aliar.Not you and not anyone else can make me out as a liar.”He added, “God forbid that a policeman would lie. I cannot think of a policeman who lies.”Lasky responded equally forcefully stating, “The Israel Police is not on trial here,” seeming to imply that thepolice should be on trial, not Leef.In his description of Leef’s alleged “use of force” against police, Shavi said that she pushed a police officer with both hands and also tried to pull him down.Relating that protesters were “throwing water bottles at and cursing the police,” Shavi said that the situationwas “not pleasant” and “like a war.”When Judge Shamai Becker intervened, pressing Shavi as to why he called what seemed to be minor physical contact “an attack” on a police officer, Shavi replied that she had “disturbed the police” from doing its job in removing tents and containing the protest.Shavi also came under fire from Lasky in light of the fact that no police officer has claimed that Leef pushed