Palestinian poet freed after jail term for 'incitement'

Dareen Tatour, an Israeli citizen, was imprisoned for poems and comments posted online

In this Tuesday, July 31, 2018 photo, Arab poet Dareen Tatour sits in a courtroom in Nazareth, Israel. The Israeli court sentenced Tatour to five months in prison for incitement to violence in social media posts she made during a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Tatour's case drew international attention after Israel put her under extended house arrest for her poems. More than 150 literary figures, including authors Alice Walker and Naomi Klein, called for Tatour's release. (AP Photo/Rami Shllush)
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A Palestinian poet jailed for five months for incitement to violence and support for a terrorist organisation in online poems and other social media posts has been released from prison less than two months after being sentenced.

Dareen Tatour, a citizen of Israel, posted a video clip of herself reading her poem Resist, my people, resist them, in October 2015, accompanied by pictures of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

The posts on YouTube and Facebook came as a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence was erupting.

Tatour, 36, was sentenced in July but was released on Thursday because of time served before her conviction, a prison spokesman said.

"Freedom is something so sweet that I can't even describe it," Tatour said after her release.

She said she planned to publish a collection of poems and a novel on her experience in prison.

International writers' group PEN defended Tatour's actions, saying she was "convicted for doing what writers do every day - we use our words to peacefully challenge injustice".

The offending verses were quoted in Hebrew in the charge sheet, but according to an English translation on the Arabic literature site ArabLit, they contained the following:

"For an Arab Palestine, I will not succumb to the 'peaceful solution', Never lower my flags, Until I evict them from my land, Resist the settler's robbery, And follow the caravan of martyrs."

Prosecutors said that on October 4, 2015 Tatour also quoted a statement by Islamic Jihad calling for "continuation of the intifada in every part of the West Bank", alleging it showed her support for the outlawed militant group. She was arrested a week later.

Tatour, from the Arab village of Reineh near Nazareth, was arrested a week later.

Her sentencing on July 31 came two days after the release of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, who served an eight-month sentence for slapping two Israeli soldiers, an episode recorded in a video that went viral.

Israel's Arab citizens are descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land following the creation of Israel in 1948.

They account for about 17.5 per cent of Israel's population and largely support the Palestinian cause.


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