Palestinian poet sentenced to five months in prison

Dareen Tatour was convicted of incitement to violence and support for terrorism in her poetry. She has spent the last two years under house arrest.

By Oren Ziv

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour (right) seen with MK Haneen Zoabi in Nazareth Magistrate’s Court after the former is sentenced to five months, including time served, for a poem she wrote on Facebook. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour (right) seen with MK Haneen Zoabi in Nazareth Magistrate’s Court after the former is sentenced to five months, including time served, for a poem she wrote on Facebook. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An Israeli court sentenced Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour to five months in prison Tuesday for incitement to terrorism and violence over poems she published on her personal Facebook page. She will enter prison on August 8th and will serve for less than two months with credit for time served.

“This is a court of the occupation,” Tatour said following her sentencing at Nazareth Magistrate’s Court. “This is a racist state, and the Jewish Nation-State Law only proves that apartheid exists here. This will not deter me; I am not the first prisoner and I won’t be the last, I will continue.”

“I was arrested and put on trial because of the Arabic language, and I call on the entire Arab public to continue writing and expressing itself in our language,” she said.

Tatour’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, said following the sentencing: “The prosecution asked for a 15-26 month sentence. The court was satisfied with five months including time served, which means she only has two months left in prison. We believe that poetry is not a crime, and thus will appeal the ruling.”

Tatour, who hails from the village of Reineh near Nazareth, was convicted of incitement to terrorism and violence this past May over a poem she wrote titled “Qawem Ya Sha’abi, Qawemhum” (“Resist my people, resist them”), as well as two other posts on social media.

She was arrested in October 2015, after which she spent three months in jail before being placed under house arrest. Tatour’s house arrest, which began in January 2016, included various restrictions. At first she was held at her brother’s home who lives in Kiryat Ono, a suburb of Tel Aviv. Only after a legal struggle was she permitted to return to her parents’ home in Reineh, near Nazareth. Her family was forced to disconnect the internet at home, and Dareen was forbidden from using the computer. For months she was forced to walk around with an ankle monitor.