Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, convicted of inciting violence for publising a resistance poem on social media in 2016, turned herself in to Israeli authorities on Wednesday saying she didn't regret writing the poem and will leave prison firmer and stronger.
The poet was sentenced last week to five months in prison after having served nearly three years under house arrest for 'incitement to violence' and 'supporting terror' through her social media posts.
"I do not feel sorry," Tatour told news outlet Arab48. "I will continue raising my voice in the face of the oppressive rulers at a time when we do not have anything more in this country than words to speak about our sufferings."
Tatour, an Israeli citizen from the Nazareth village of Reineh, came to the attention of authorities in October 2015 after posting a video of herself reading her 'Resist, My People, Resist' poem on Youtube and Facebook.
The video included images of Palestinians confronting the Israeli occupation forces. Tatour was arrested a few days later, despite denying all charges.
Her case became a cause celebre for freedom of speech advocates in Israel and abroad. It drew attention to the advanced technology used by Israeli security agencies to trawl social media in order to identify and arrest users suspected of incitement to violence, or of planning attacks.
"I personally paid the price for the oppressive policy," she continued. "I was deprived of my freedom for three years, but I succeeded to disclose the reality of the claimed Israeli democracy. My message about the fake Israeli democracy reached everyone. It is a democracy for Jews and racism for non-Jews."
Prosecutors also included other posts by the poet, including a news story from Islamic Jihad calling for "a continuation of the Intifada." Two pictures – one of an Israeli-Palestinian woman murdered by Israeli occupation forces after wielding a knife and another of Ali Dawabsheh and Muhammad Abu Khdeir, Palestinian children killed by Jewish extremists in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem – were also cited.
"My sacrifice has not been in vain," Tatour said. "The Arabs will remain standing in their country, proud of their language and express their stances and feelings without fearing the threats or racist laws."
The 36-year-old poet and activist fought a long legal battle, aided by lawyer Gaby Lasky, arguing her posts were a legitimate protest against the occupation, protected by freedom of speech.
Israeli authorities, however, sentenced her to five months in prison. She served three months after her house was raided in 2015. Just before turning herself in, a crowd gathered outside her home in support.
"I hope to be as good as the people thought I was," Tatour told Arab48. "I promise to leave prison firmer and stronger."