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Israeli court hands Palestinian one-year prison sentence over Facebook posts

June 1, 2016 2:57 P.M. (Updated: June 1, 2016 4:30 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- An Israeli military court convicted a young Palestinian man of incitement against Israel on Facebook on Wednesday, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement.

PPS lawyer Muhammad Shahin was quoted as saying that Qusay Issa, a 22-year-old resident of the Bethlehem area in the southern occupied West Bank, was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 2,000 shekels ($519) over Facebook posts.

In recent months, Israel has detained scores of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory last October was encouraged largely by Palestinian "incitement."

Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.

Shahin said that Israeli courts have handed down varying sentences regarding online “incitement” based on to the number of posts, their content, and the number of comments on the posts. The longest prison sentence handed down so far has been one year, he said.

On Sunday, Israeli military prosecution submitted an indictment to a military court for prominent Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi, accusing him of incitement against Israel on Facebook, despite a previous decision to release him from custody due to lack of sufficient evidence.

According to prisoners’ organization Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were held in Israeli custody as of April.
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