Persecuted Israeli human rights activist vows to fight on
“We will never stop fighting for our kids and our freedom. Prison cannot stop me” (Moti Leybel)
Moti Leybel, one of the leading activists in Israel and a most vocal independent journalist, was taken by police on 26 May and thrown into prison after exercising his right to free speech for only 30 seconds. For a video of his arrest, click here.
The cat-and-mouse game is hotting up with Moti facing continual charges of harassment and court appearances as the authorities attempt to stop him from speaking out.
Only the week before his arrest, a judge had lifted a restraining order and described Moti as a legitimate voice for the parents who lose their children to the social services.
In the small town of Mevaseret Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem, Moti was driving a van displaying images of a social worker who had been instrumental in removing a new born baby from a disabled mother. However, as you can see in the video mentioned above, after less than a minute of speaking out he was seized by police on a completely false claim.
I was strip searched on arrival then put in a cell of approximately 4 x 6 metres – there were 10 of us. There was no window, just a fluorescent light. Everyone smoked so it was tough to breathe. We were given a plastic bag containing a cucumber, cream cheese, jam and a few slices of bread. This is the daily ration, which I was told never varies. I was in a room with mostly criminals. But I had prepared myself mentally and refused to feel humiliated. Many innocent people are thrown into prison with criminals and it traumatises them.
Throughout the night, every attempt to film from the outside was thwarted by police in this “democratic” country. Despite the order from court, the police attempted to detain Moti for at least another 72 hours.
The following morning an order was made for Moti to appear for a court hearing at 9 a.m. Moti was brought to the small open court room chained and escorted by two police officers. The condition of his freedom was to accept a six-month ban on entering Mevaseret Zion.
It was to take a further six hours for Moti to be “processed” for release, during which time I filmed the outside of the compound. Police were trying to prevent me from doing this, and several times I had to stop filming.
It is imperative the truth gets out from Israel to the outside world and everyone learns how much oppression citizens face in Israel.
Moti continues to win every charge of harassment made against him and endures constant police investigations and attempts to gag his right to speak out against the brutal systems in Israel and to ask for help from people in the outside world.
Only a few weeks ago two leading attorneys, Ruth David and Ron Fisher, had been indicted on charges of corruption, and more officials are under investigation. The cherry-picking of children from fit parents and their placement in private institutions at great profit to the organisations concerned is a subject which needs to be exposed.
It is imperative the truth gets out from Israel to the outside world and everyone learns how much oppression citizens face in Israel. All attempts to get this story into Israel’s news channels or press were ignored. The official police spokesman also declined to comment.
Moti Leybel continues to say he is prepared to sacrifice his life for the truth to be told to the world. I continue to support his efforts with my forthcoming book about the difficulties afflicting modern Israel.
It seems inevitable that Moti Leybel will be imprisoned for much longer periods. As moves are being made to restrict freedom of speech, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu takes control of the Ministry of Communication, and TV and the press become even more state controlled, the window into police oppression will be closed if independent journalists lose their last vestige of free speech.