Ofer - Barred (from meeting with attorney), Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
Once more a call to order is heard: This is not a visit!
It was a very long day; as part of “spring cleaning,” innumerable cases were crammed in the docket. We left at 5 PM, leaving behind families that had been there since early morning.
We waited for the hearings with the families of Bian Faroun and Istbarak Tamimi.
Bian Faroun was arrested (together with Batoul Ramahi) on 11.3.17.
Istbarak Tamimi was arrested on 20.3.17.
The three are students at Beir-Zeit University.
They are kept at the Russian Compound (Moskabiya) for interrogation and are barred from seeing counsel.
The remand hearing was presided by Justice Lieut.-Col. Menahem Lieberman.
Defense: Atty. Firas Sabah.
The joy of the reunion between the detainees and their families is indescribable. They had been unable to meet for a long time. The families could not obtain information about the women, except that they had been transferred to Sharon Prison.
As soon as the families were let in, the exchange of information began. This caused some noise in the “respectable courtroom”. Justice Lieberman, apparently tired at the end of a long day, called out: Tell the families that they will be barred from the next hearing!” Why? Because it was hard for the families to depart and they tried to use every second to communicate.
The guard shouted as he always does: “This is not a visit!”
Decision: remand extension for 8 days.
The next hearing is set for 12.4.17.
We have said it before, but it needs repeating: the hearings do serve as “visits”. The Palestinians insist on coming to court because exchanging a few words with their loved ones is highly important to them. And it is not easy for them to visit their beloved ones in prison: they have to petition to the Red Cross and wait for a permit, which sometimes takes months. Some families are barred from visiting. Sometimes, even when they have a permit, when they come to the checkpoints they are turned back.
Bian, Istbarak and Batoul are now in Sharon Prison and it is not clear if and when their families will be able to visit them. Bian’s brother told us that ten years ago he was a prisoner for two years. Worried, he asked if this would prevent him from visiting her. We had no answer.
Next week, when the indictments are read in court, we hope the families will be allowed to attend. The fact that we, as Israelis, can attend while the families are barred, is unconscionable.