Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour convicted of ‘Facebook incitement’

A Palestinian poet was convicted of “inciting violence” and “supporting a terrorist organisation” on Thursday for a poem she posted on social media that the prosecution claimed called for violence against the occupation.

Nazareth magistrates’ court found Dareen Tatour guilty over a poem titled “Resist, My People, Resist Them” posted on Facebook and other posts dealing with Palestinian resistance. According to the prosecutor, Tatour also uploaded a video on her Facebook and YouTube accounts that shows footage of Palestinians throwing stones at the Israeli army troops, with her reading in the background of her “Resist, My People, Resist Them” poem. Tatour’s defence argued that  the poem had been misinterpreted by translators, that the content was “artistic expression” rather than a call to violence, and that the charges ran against  Tatour’s  freedom of expression.

Tatour posted the poem online in October 2015. She was arrested shortly after in a 3am police raid on her home, and spent several months in prison before being placed under house arrest with no access to the internet. The court insisted that she be kept 40 km away from her home because of the ‘danger’ she posed to the public. Now, she is confined a Tel Aviv flat and is facing a prison sentence of up to 8 years.

Over 300 writers, poets, translators, editors, artists, intellectuals and cultural workers have signed the petition to free Dareen Tatour. She is one of over 400 Palestinians arrested in recent years for their expressions of resistance to the Israeli Occupation over social media.