Court fines Arab-Israeli cleric for obstructing police

AFP , Monday 19 May 2014

An Israeli court on Monday fined firebrand Islamic cleric Sheikh Raed Salah $2,600 for obstructing the work of police when they quizzed his wife three years ago, legal documents showed.

Last month, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ruled that Salah, an Arab citizen of Israel, had "interrupted" police officers as they questioned his wife at the Allenby border crossing between the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jordan in April 2011.

On Monday, the court slapped him with a fine of 9,000 shekels ($2,600, 1,826 euros), the decision read.

The judge said the fine was relatively high for such an offence, partly due to Salah's refusal to express contrition for his actions.

The incident occurred after Salah himself was questioned on his way back from Jordan.

But when a female officer wanted to search his wife, he began yelling and had to be restrained by police, although he broke free and tried to force his way into the room where his wife was.

Salah, leader of the radical northern wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, is no stranger to run-ins with the authorities.

In March, he was sentenced to eight months prison for incitement to violence over Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque.

In 2010, he spent five months behind bars for spitting at an Israeli policeman.

The Islamic Movement is tolerated in Israel but is under constant surveillance because of its perceived links with the militant Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip, as well as with other Muslim groups worldwide.

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