Four years after she was arrested by Israeli police over a poem she had written and published on social media, Dareen Tatour’s legal battles are finally over.
The Israeli Supreme Court rejected last week a petition filed by the state prosecutors that was made in an attempt to reopen the case against her.
Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was convicted of three counts of incitement and supporting a terrorist organization in May 2018, over a series of poems she published on social media. She spent three years under house arrest and months in prison before being released.
On July 1, the state petitioned the Supreme Court to review an earlier ruling by a district court that had partially acquitted Tatour of an incitement conviction regarding one specific poem, “Resist, my people resist them,” and won her a reduced sentence.
At the time, the district court said of the poem: “This doesn’t involve unequivocal remarks that would provide the basis for a direct call to carry out acts.” It said that “freedom of expression is accorded added weight when it also involves freedom of artistic and creative [expression]… and therefore the limits must be stretched to protect the right of creative freedom.”
In its appeal this summer, the prosecution argued that “even if Tatour’s poem did not constitute clear incitement to terrorism, it indirectly encouraged violent acts,” 972 Magazine reported.
Tatour was arrested in October 2015, a time when small-scale attacks, carried out by Palestinians against Israeli armed forces were on the rise in the occupied Palestinian territory. As a result, Israeli authorities embarked on a large scale, highly criticized, arrest campaign of Palestinians for social media posts deemed as “incitement.”
On September 26, the Supreme Court rejected the prosecutor’s petition, reportedly refusing to even hold discussions on the matter on the basis that the prosecution was not presenting any new arguments or evidence that could justify filing an appeal.
“Finally, after four years of a long battle with the Israeli occupation authorities for freedom of poetry, expression and art, it has ended,” Tatour told Mondoweiss.
“Everyone should know that my victory does not mean that Israel is a democracy, but an affirmation of the racism and dictatorship of this state against the Palestinians,” she continued, saying that she “suffered a lot” because of her poetry.
Tatour thanked her lawyer Gaby Lasky and everyone that stood in solidarity with her after her arrest, which catapulted her to international recognition.
“Thank you, everyone, for believing that the poetry I write against the occupation is not a crime but a human right as an artist and a poet,” she said.
“My message to every oppressed human being, Do not give up your right no matter how much you suffer and tire of the oppressor because the truth and the truth in your heart is always the strongest of all authority.”