Ethan Schwartz (25/01/2012)
Mohamed Abdelkarim, a SOAS PhD student who was accused of biting a pro-Israel campaigner on the cheek, has been acquitted of assault.
The alleged attack took place on March 20th, last year, at an “Israel Apartheid Week” event at the SOAS campus in Central London. Mohamed Abdelkarim, a 44 year old Kuwaiti student and father of two, stood accused of biting Dean Gold on the cheek during a brawl, and knocking his camera out of his hand. Mr Abdelkarim argued that he had been acting in self-defence.
According to the Jewish Chronicle, District Judge James Henderson maintained that the witnesses for both defence and prosecution had been influenced in “what they saw and how they interpreted it” by personal politics.* Mr Abdelkarim, on the other hand, was “consistent and believable”. Judge Henderson, again quoted in the Jewish Chronicle, stated: “I cannot be sure that Mr Abdelkarim was not acting in self-defence. The prosecution have not achieved that.”
Gili Brenner, Executive of StandWithUs UK, commenting on the trial and the verdict, said: "As someone who was at the incident and a witness in the trial, this is a difficult day for me, Dean and the two other supporters. The decision not to convict the defendant despite compelling evidence is extremely worrying, especially as anti-Israel and Jewish sentiment is on the rise in the UK. Jews and supporters of Israel are entitled to expect that the law will uphold their right to be on campus without fear of intimidation or violence, and this ruling undermines that."
Initial charges against Mr Gold were dropped without trial.
*CORRECTION: The original sentence incorrectly stated that Judge Henderson identified only "the witnesses for the prosecution, three pro-Israel campaigners" as influenced by personal politics. Alondon apologizes for any misunderstanding this may have caused.
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2. Ethan Schwartz Author in 01/02/2012:
Thanks, Dean, for bringing this to our attention. The mistake has now been corrected.
1. Dean Author in 01/02/2012:
The Judge did not make those comments "what they saw and how they interpreted" etc about the prosecution witnesses. I believe you have misquoted. He was referring to all of the witnesses. Here is video footage of the incident: http://youtu.be/kfkz2AwsCZ8
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- Thanks, Dean, for bringing this to our attention. The mistake has now been corrected.
Ethan Schwartz (2012-02-01 14:35:54) Commented on "Biter" Cleared of Assault
- The Judge did not make those comments "what they saw and how they interpreted" etc about the prosecu...
Dean (2012-02-01 14:34:20) Commented on "Biter" Cleared of Assault