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Daily Israel Report

Reuters Cameraman Remanded for Inciting Rock Attacks

On Tuesday, a Reuters cameraman was remanded to prison until trial for his part in rock-throwing attacks on security forces in Bil'in, where the separation fence is a constant target of protesters.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 10/18/2006, 12:59 PM / Last Update: 10/17/2006, 6:02 PM

The cameraman, Imad Muhammad Intisar Boghnat, was arrested and charged as a result of violent riots in the Arab village of Bil'in, in the Modi'in region, on October 6, 2006. A videotape that the prosecution presented to the judge shows Boghnat encouraging and directing rioters in Bil'in to throw large chunks of rock at Israeli vehicles in such a way as to cause maximum damage. The accused is heard shouting, "Throw, throw!" and later, "Throw towards the little window!"

The judge of the Judea-area military court who issued the remand order, Maj. Amir Dahan, called the case "borderline" for pre-trial imprisonment, but he noted that the alternative of house arrest was not wise, as Boghnat is a resident of Bil'in.

"That village is a constant source of conflict and the respondent [Boghnat] should not again be placed in such a dilemma, lest he again, Heaven forbid, disgrace himself," the judge wrote in his decision. In addition, Maj. Dahan emphasized that "above all, the accused must be cut off from camera work in tense and sensitive locales where disturbances take place." Security forces must also have easy access to Boghnat, the judge said.

Suggesting a possible explanation for Boghnat's behavior, Maj. Dahan wrote that the criminal act in question may have been perpetrated "out of the desire to mollify the villagers who know him, rather than acting as he normally does, as has been preliminarily proven, as a purely objective cameraman."

In accordance with the military court's decision, Boghnat's case will be heard at the earliest possible opportunity.