/ Modified apr 23, 2024 12:39 p.m.

Sheriff’s Department accused of violating religious freedoms of Israel-Hamas protestors

Four of the 26 people arrested at the Nov. 2023 protest say their actions are protected under religious freedom laws.

rtx-protest-1 Demonstrators lie on the asphalt during a previous protest of Raytheon's weapons sales to Israel on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023.
Hannah Cree, AZPM News

Defense attorneys are saying the Pima County Sheriff’s Department violated religious freedoms by arresting protestors demonstrating against the Israel-Hamas war last year.

26 people were arrested at the Nov. 30, 2023 protest at the Raytheon offices at the University of Arizona Tech Park, including a KJZZ journalist, although her charges have been dropped.

Demonstrators gathered because they opposed the weapons manufacturer’s role in supplying the Israeli military with weapons used against Palestinians.

Four more protestors filed to have their charges dropped on Monday, claiming their arrests violated Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act.

According to the motion, the four defendants “are persons of sincere religious conviction who were motivated by their religious beliefs to confront Raytheon’s complicity in Israel’s war crimes.”

The defendants include an ordained minister, two practicing Christians, and a Jewish man who is reportedly working towards becoming a Rabbi.

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