Israeli-court-extends-detention-of-Palestinian-football-team-board-member-over-photo
Palestine’s supporters cheer for their team during a friendly football match between the Palestinian and Algerian Olympic football teams at the 5 Juillet 1962 stadium in Algiers on February 17, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Farouk Batiche

An Israeli magistrate’s court extended the detention of a Palestinian man who serves on the administrative board of an occupied East Jerusalem football team on Sunday evening, after Israeli officials accused him of publicly supporting “terrorism.”

Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud of prisoners’ rights group Addameer told Ma’an on Sunday evening that a Jerusalem court had extended to Wednesday the remand of Maher Abu Sneina, an administrative member of the Palestinian Hilal al-Quds football team.

According to Mahmoud, who is representing Abu Sneina in court, the judge decided to extend Abu Sneina’s custody because of a photo showing him and the team’s players holding up a banner in support of slain Palestinian shooter Misbah Abu Sbeih.

Abu Sneina, “who coaches the Hilal al-Quds team, was suspected of conspiracy to commit a crime and for publicly supporting terrorism,” Haaretz reported on Monday. The newspaper added that Israeli police had asked the court to extend his detention by six days, though the judge decided on a three-day extension.

Haaretz highlighted that while Mahmoud told the court that Abu Sneina was not responsible for the photo being taken, an Israeli police representative responded by saying, “but he could have prevented it.

”The judge reportedly ruled that there was “sufficient suspicion that a crime was committed,” and that Abu Sneina’s answers during his interrogation by Israeli police were “incomplete and not credible.”

The large banner featured the face of Abu Sbeih, who was killed by Israeli authorities last week after he committed a drive-by shooting that left two Israelis dead in the occupied East Jerusalem. Alongside the photo of Abu Sbeih, the banner read: “Hilal al-Quds club mourns the lion of Al-Aqsa, martyr Misbah Abu Sbeih.”

The banner could also be seen hanging above a goal post at the Faisal al-Hussein stadium in Abu Sbeih’s hometown of al-Ram in Jerusalem, during a match between Hilal al-Quds and Shabab al-Khalil, two of the top teams in the Palestinian first division football league.