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Dareen Tatour
Dareen Tatour

Dareen Tatour (born 16 April 1982 in Reineh) is a Palestinian poet, photographer, and social media activist from Reineh, Israel, who writes in Arabic, her mother tongue. She was tried, convicted, and sentenced to five months in prison by an Israeli court in 2018 for "inciting violence" and "supporting a terrorist organisation" in postings on social media, one of which was a video that included a reading of her poem. Following her appeal, the conviction for the post containing the poem was overturned the following year, but the conviction for her other posts was upheld.

In 2019, she received an Oxfam Novib/PEN Award for Freedom of Expression.

Trial, sentence and successful appeal

Tatour initially denied authoring the posts and poem, but after switching attorneys she admitted to having done so, and instead began claiming the poem had been mistranslated.

The prosecution's argument emphasized her denial, reversal, and subsequent blaming of others, asserting that a person "confident of the justice of his path and purity of his intentions consistently admits to publishing the things attributed to him, and explains the underlying intentions."

Tatour's defense argued that she was being tried to "intimidate and silence Palestinians in Israel" and that "criminalization of poetry… derogates from the cultural richness of all society."

She was convicted on May 3, 2018, and on 31 July 2018 sentenced to five months' imprisonment. She was released in September, 2018.

In May 2019, the Nazareth District Court overturned her conviction for the poem, though not the convictions for other social media posts. The court ruled that the poem did not "involve unequivocal remarks that would provide the basis for a direct call to carry out acts". The court noted that Tatour was known as a poet and that "freedom of expression is accorded added weight when it also involves freedom of artistic and creative [expression]".

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