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Israel: Musicians imprisoned for song lyrics and video of performance

26 September 2017
Israeli authorities arrested three musicians for performing a song that authorities allege was an “incitement to terrorism and violence”.
Mohammed al-Barghouti /Facebook

 

Israeli authorities arrested three musicians – Mohammed al-Barghouti, Nazaal al-Barghouti and Naji al-Rimawi – in the West Bank on 30 August 2017 for performing a song at a wedding, and uploading a video of the performance on social media, that authorities allege was an “incitement to terrorism and violence”, according to the musicians’ lawyer Abdel Nasser al-Nubani.

According to the lawyer, singer Mohammed al-Barghouti and band member Nazaal al Barghouti are being detained in the Ofer prison in the West Bank; the third musician, piano player Naji al-Rimawi, was released after paying a fine of 1,000 Shekels (approx. $285 USD) as authorities said he did not upload the song via social media.

However, Mohamed Al Barghouthi and Nazaal Al Barghouthi still face trial, which has so far been postponed four times and is currently scheduled for 21 November 2017.

Abdel Nasser al-Nubani informed Freemuse that the musicians face a series of charges, including: incitement to terrorism; writing songs that incite violence and terrorism; playing the song on occasions where people are gathered to sing along and dance; uploading the song on social sites that exceeded 65,000 views in a short period of time; using Facebook and YouTube to instigate violence and terrorism against Israel; and singing and praising the perpetrators of operations and martyrs.

If convicted, the charges would carry a punishment of imprisonment of six to ten months, and may include a fine.

The musicians were arrested after playing a song at a wedding that included lyrical content about Omar al-Abed, a Palestinian man who stabbed three Israelis to death in July 2017 in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank and who is currently in detention.

Authorities also confiscated the band’s equipment used to record the song.

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