20,000 sign petition asking Jerusalem court not to put peace activist Ezra Nawi in jail
Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Eilata Ziskind, who convicted peace activist Ezra Nawi in March of participating in a riot and assaulting a police officer, on Sunday heard character witnesses presented by the defense and prosecution in preparation for sentencing on September 21.
According to the law, he could serve up to two years in jail.
The prosecution has made clear that it is not asking for the maximum sentence but is insistent that Nawi go to jail.
Nawi has become almost a legendary figure among the Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills, left-wing Israeli activists and international opponents of Israel's presence in the West Bank.
During the hearing, the Jewish Voices for Peace group presented the court with a petition signed by 20,000 supporters abroad, asking it not to send Nawi to jail.
Nawi told The Jerusalem Post afterwards that he found it hard to hear the state's allegations that he was involved in criminal activities 20 or 30 years ago, but said he was touched by the testimonies in his favor and by the 50 supporters who had come to the hearing.
Among the witnesses who testified on his behalf were Yehudit Karp, a former deputy attorney-general, Hebrew University professors Galit Hazan-Rokem and David Shulman and a close friend of Nawi who is a social worker in Jerusalem.
"Maybe some Israelis aren't happy about the support I get from Chomsky, but I can tell you that the police officers who lie all the time are 1,000 times more dangerous than Chomsky, who isn't dangerous at all."