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Palestinian rights activists celebrate political victory in Germany after Humboldt 3 trial

PALESTINIAN rights activists celebrated “a political and moral victory” today when two of the so-called Humboldt three were acquitted of all charges after protesting against Israeli war crimes at a 2017 meeting.

Majed Abusalama, a Palestinian journalist from Gaza, Ronnie Barkan, an Israeli-Jewish human rights defender and Stavit Sinai, an Israeli-Jewish anti-colonial scholar and philosophy teacher, were charged with trespassing and assault after they challenged Aliza Lavie, a member of the Yesh Atid party and leader of the anti-BDS movement in the Knesset, during the event at Humboldt University.

The trio insisted it was their moral duty to protest against Israeli war crimes and that they had merely exercised their right to peaceful protest during the 2017 meeting.

They were ejected from the event after Mr Barkan described Ms Lavie as “a representative of a criminal apartheid state,” while Ms Sinai highlighted her involvement in the Gaza massacre of 2014, shouting “the blood of Gaza is on this woman’s hands.”

Mr Abusalama stayed until the end of the meeting and challenged the right-wing Israeli parliamentarian in the Q&A session before leaving on his own accord.

Today Mr Barkan and Mr Abusalama were cleared of charges. Ms Sinai was found guilty of “attempted assault” despite being punched in the face as she was removed from the lecture hall.

She was fined €450 but refused to pay, saying that she would rather go to prison.

In a statement the group said their win was “first and foremost in promoting an unapologetic discourse of resistance to the criminal Israeli apartheid regime in Berlin — the last standing bastion for zionism.”

Last year the German parliament passed a non-binding resolution which branded the BDS campaign anti-semitic, cutting off funding for organisations that actively support the measures.

The move was slammed as “anti-Palestinian McCarthyism” by the BDS campaign and has seen a clampdown on organising in Germany.

Palestinian torture survivor and former political prisoner Rasmea Odeh was banned from speaking after police surrounded her at an event in Berlin last year.

She was subsequently deported and branded “a danger” after a court heard she had been found guilty of bombing offences by Israel in 1969 following a confession that had been extracted through torture and sexual assault.

Palestinian writer and activist Khaled Barakat was banned from Germany because of his support for BDS and his political speeches on Palestine.  

The trio vowed to carry on undeterred and said: “The struggle against apartheid continues on all fronts.”

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