Israel convicts Palestinian protest leader

By DIAA HADID | May 20, 2012 | 12:06 PM EDT

OFER MILITARY BASE, West Bank (AP) — An Israeli military court has convicted a Palestinian protest leader of urging youths to throw rocks at Israeli soldiers, in a case that has drawn controversy because it is based on the confession of a 15-year-old interrogated without a lawyer.

Bassem al-Tamimi is a symbol of Palestinian opposition to Israeli military rule and has been hailed by the European Union as a human rights defender.

The 45-year-old al-Tamimi led marches in his West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. He was jailed for 13 months while awaiting conviction and was released on bail in April.

The judge did not issue a sentencing date during Sunday's hearing.

Critics say Israel is stifling legitimate protests. Israel says demonstrators routinely throw stones at soldiers.