Edinburgh courts: Palestinian doctor denies holding prohibited Edinburgh rally and inciting crowd

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Edinburgh doctor originally from Palestine appears in court

A Palestinian doctor has denied holding a public protest in Edinburgh city centre and inciting a large crowd to surround a police van after a campaigner had been arrested.

Dr Issam Bassalat, 66, is alleged to have organised the pro-Palestinian rally despite having no permission to do so at the capital’s Mound Plaza on March 23 this year.

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Dr Bassalat is then alleged to have encouraged a mob to gather round the police vehicle and demand the release of a protestor who had been arrested at Bristo Square, Edinburgh, on the same date.

Dr Bassalat, of the city’s Craigleith area, pleaded not guilty to both offences when he appeared in the dock on a summary complaint at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday, May 1.

Stock photo of a Scottish Palestine demonstration at the Mound on October 28, 2023.Stock photo of a Scottish Palestine demonstration at the Mound on October 28, 2023.
Stock photo of a Scottish Palestine demonstration at the Mound on October 28, 2023. | LISA FERGUSON

Co-accused 41-year-old Sundus Saeed, of Leith, failed to appear at court but not guilty pleas to the two alleged offences were lodged in her absence.

Ms Saeed is also denying a charge of resisting arrest and struggling with police officers when she was handcuffed, throwing herself to the floor and screaming at constables as they attempted to remove her from her home on April 5 this year.

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Sheriff Kenneth Campbell KC set down a trial date for both accused to later this year.

Dr Issam Bassalat is an ophthalmologist who worked at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose and moved to the UK from Palestine in 1995. He has been living in Edinburgh since 2010.