Ofer - Release on Bail, Shooting

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Norah Orlow., Tova Szeintuch

Today only sessions in the appeal courtrooms and administrative detention trials took place.

In courtroom 3, appeal by the prosecution concerning release on bond of the brothers Jafer:

Case no. 3844/07 - Azam Abed el Jafer Issa;
Case no. 3845/07 - Muatsab Abed el Jafer Issa
The prosecution is appealing their release on bond.

Defense lawyer: Zahalka

Summary of the previous session:

3 members of a family: Aazam Abed el Jafer Issa, Basal Abed el Jafer Issa, and Muatsab Abed el Jafer Issa (probably brothers), unshaven, wearing dusty work clothes. The session deals with an accusation by 3 policemen of having been cruelly beaten by the accused; whereas the accused claim that it was the policemen who had beaten them (cruelty was not mentioned). The policemen do not deny having used violence but say they have employed reasonable force needed to make the arrest, as allowed by the law. They say it’s the day after the Day of Atonement, a day of compassion and forgiveness; violence against agents of the law is a grave offense. Can you imagine a situation in which policemen get beaten up again and again? We are dealing here with a dangerous case and I request detention until the completion of the legal procedure.

So what happened? Says the defense: the three brothers were returning from work and there was a truck blocking the road. The brothers’ vehicle tried to get around the truck when the policemen appeared, stopped them and wanted to give them a traffic ticket. One of the workers, by the name of Basal, left the car with the intention of photographing the truck so as to produce evidence in case of a trial. Seeing this, the policemen attacked him and started to beat him. Indeed his shirt had been torn and his face shows cuts and bruises. One policeman, Uzi Cohen, beat him in the face with the butt of his rifle. Basal tried to stop the policeman and gripped the rifle, thus giving rise to an additional accusation of trying to snatch the rifle, an accusation which had worried the judge.

Basal’s wounds were treated by a paramedic in an Israeli clinic. I did not understand exactly but from what I did understand it seems that the paramedic refused to issue a medical certificate concerning his wound, which accounts for the lack of medical evidence in the file, a fact which supports the prosecution. All this took a long time. The judge suggested to "freeze” the proceedings pending submission of a complaint to the Department for the Investigation of Policemen, to see who was right and who lied, but the defense said that for the accused a day’s absence from work was an economic hardship and requested an on-the-spot decision, probably in the hope that the judge might release the defendants on bail as non-dangerous. (I do not know how long have they been under detention). In his decision, the judge ordered remand of accused no.2 (Basal – who claims to have been beaten, or who beat up the policemen, according to their testimony) until the end of his investigation, and release of the accused no.1 and 3 on the following conditions: 12,000 NIS bail for each of them (these are people for whom a day’s absence from work was described by the defense as economic disaster) and a 12,000 NIS bond by a third party. The bonds are to be signed by a resident of Israel or by a holder of an Israeli working permit or by a Palestinian holding an Israeli working permit. In absence of the above deposits the accused no.1 and 3 (Muatsam and Atsam) will be kept under arrest and will be brought to court on 24.10.07 (we shall try to follow up). The prosecutor asks for a 72-hour delay in carrying out of the decision, on the basis of a precedent, but the judge decides on a 48-hour delay only.

Further to the above report: The defense underscores the illegal arrest by the policeman Uzi Cohen (he intends to complain to the Department for the Investigation of Policemen, by request of Judge Shimon Leibo). He notes that the three accused are the main providers of the family, hold magnetic cards and permits above the required. Opening of a case against them will prevent them from getting a work permit. The defense’s speech is moving, the mother behind us is crying, the judge is listening and the prosecution insists that the two brothers, who are listening tensely, are dangerous. The judge listened to the parties and promised to respond later on. At about 17:00 the defense lawyer (who is very interested in cooperating with us) gives me the answer. First of all, the accused did not get any medical treatment and there is no evidence of any bodily harm. There is only a note on a cut in the upper lip of one of the brothers.

The response of Judge Itzhak Mina: the appeal by the prosecution is denied. The decision of the previous session is valid, viz: a NIS 12,000 bail plus a NIS 50,000 bond by a third party. Upon payment, they will be released pending trial. But how can the family raise such sums of money? They won’t be able even to earn for a decent living now that there is a case against them.

Norah adds: The defense lawyer told me this morning that the sum of 24,000 NIS was found for the release of the two brothers, and a friend, resident of the North, agreed to sign the 50,000 NIS bond, so that, provided there is no last moment obstacle, they will be released still today until the trial on 04.11.07. Mr. Zahalka also intends to appeal in the name of the third brother, who remains in detention since the court refused to release him on bail. The appeal will be held on Sunday, 07.10.07.

Another appeal is that of Ramzi Hamas Jarash, case 1615/07. Defense: Laviv Haviv, three judges. The appeal concerns life sentence for murder, and the request is to be tried for manslaughter.(According to him he had fled the scene of the event in which the watchman of the factory was killed). The defense asks to refer to a precedent ruling in which accomplices to planning an attack were tried for manslaughter rather than murder. The translation during the trial, attended by the family of the accused, was eminently faulty. The interpreters fussed with their cell phones, yawned, stared into the air (even the presiding judge asked why there is no translation, but his remark was not heeded). The long speech by the defense lawyer hinted that the judges were impressed by the General Security Services evidence, while seeing other materials as irrelevant. The question that arises is whether somebody who participates in the planning of a murder but is not the one who actually kills deserves the same sentence as the killer.