Israeli left-wing activist denied access to lawyer, to be held for another week

A gag order bars publishing any identifying information about the activist, who was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport a day earlier.

Israeli left-wing activist is led into the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, January 12, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Israeli left-wing activist is led into the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, January 12, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday extended by one week the arrest remand of a well known left-wing Israeli activist. The court also barred him from meeting his lawyer.

The activist was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport Monday, although there was no legal barrier to him from leaving the country prior to his arrest.

The man, whose identity is under gag order, is being held on suspicion of being in contact with a foreign agent. He was the subject of a right-wing hidden camera ‘sting operation’ broadcast on Israeli television recently.

The court ruled that the hearing on Tuesday would be held behind closed doors and barred the publication of any information or photographs that could identify the suspect.

Beyond specific gag orders, Israeli law bars the publication of any identifying information about a suspect for 48 hours after their arrest or before they are indicted in court, whichever comes first.

A number of Israeli news outlets published the man’s identity anyway on Monday and Tuesday, in apparent violation of the law meant to protect suspects’ rights.

Israeli security forces often violate themselves privacy laws meant to protect suspects, and in some cases those meant to protect minors, although generally only when the suspect is Palestinian.

Israeli authorities recently began using measures previously reserved for Palestinians against Jewish suspects, primarily those accused of terrorism-related crimes.

The state also famously held a former Mossad agent known as Prisoner X incommunicado for years. The story was only published once an Australian news outlet began reporting its details.

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