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Middle East
Israeli court acquits Raed Salah
An Islamic Movement leader is acquitted over involvement in a 2007 Jerusalem riot.
Last Modified: 11 May 2010 17:07 GMT
Sheikh Raed Salah was aquitted over charges in connection to a 2007 protest [EPA]

Sheikh Raed Salah, a leading member of the Islamic Movement, has been acquitted by a Jerusalem court in connection with rioting in the city three years ago.

The ruling on Tuesday comes four months after he was sentenced to nine months in jail.

Salah was found guilty for assaulting a police officer during 2007 protests against archaeological excavations near the holy compound in Jerusalem's old city known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Salah remains free as his lawyers appeal the January ruling.

In regards to Tuesday's acquital though, the Jerusalem Postquoted Salah as saying that he believed the court's ruling "described the truth".

"The police should be blamed, and if true justice is sought, all of the four remaining cases against me should be closed," the paper quoted him as saying.

Inconsistent charges

Judge Shimon Fineberg ruled that the charges made by Israeli police were inconsistent with witness testimony and video evidence produced by the defence.

He also acquited Salah on charges of involvement in an illegal gathering, citing a lack of proof.

Salah, an Israeli citizen, led several protests in February and March of 2007, saying that Israel was trying to dig under the Temple Mount , which could lead to the collapse of the al-Aqsa mosque.

At the time, he was quoted by the Reuters news agency as calling "on the Islamic and Arab world for an intifada [uprising] to support al-Aqsa".

He has been arrested by Israeli police a number of times, and been banned from entering Jerusalem for periods of 30 days. He also previously made headlines by spending two years in an Israeli prison for allegedly raising money for Hamas.

Israeli ministers have called for the outlawing of his wing of the Islamic Movement, which boycotts Israeli parliamentary elections out of a refusal to recognise an exclusively Jewish state of Israel.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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