February 24, 2017
A Palestinian lawyer signed a plea deal earlier this week in order to avoid a prison sentence for his alleged involvement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), as his organization called the case the latest example of Israel’s “persecution of human rights defenders.”
Anas Barghouthi, a lawyer for prisoners rights group Addameer, accepted a plea bargain on Sunday in order to forgo a prison sentence for allegedly being a member of PFLP and leading demonstrations against Israeli policies, NGO Amnesty International reported on Wednesday.
Barghouthi has denied both charges.
“The case exemplifies the persisting persecution of human rights defenders in the absence of any adequate evidence showing that they pose a security threat,” Addameer legal unit director Mahmoud Hassan told Ma’an on Thursday, citing the “prolonged trial proceedings” and “excessive” bail.
The plea bargain includes a 7,000-shekel ($1,892) fine, as well as a suspended sentence of 18 months in prison if Barghouthi is found to be involved with PFLP in the coming five years, and an eight-month suspended sentence if he participates in protests in the next three years.
Barghouthi was initially detained in September 2013 and released on bail in October of that year. The plea deal marked the end of a nearly three-and-a-half year legal ordeal.