Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Remand Extension

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Michal Z., Hava H.

Translation: Eldad K.

Remand of custody at the Russian Compound is now performed under new rules since the transfer of authority to the prison Services. As of today civilians are forbidden to enter through the main entrance and there are new arrangements. We were sent to and fro between the commanders but in the end one of the interrogators came and returned us to our usual places, on the stairs, and straightened things out with Avigdor.

The judge: Eli Tusia Cohen (Reserves)

Defense: Maamoun Chashim

The very young translator does not know Hebrew. The lawyer helps him and translates the terminology of the court for him and the diligent young man writes down all the new words on a piece of paper in order to learn them at home.

There were only a few cases this time. Six in isolation and three for extension of arrest. For the information of our members (Machsomwatch) - the Committee Against Torture announced that they filed a petition to the High Court against prevention of contact with lawyers. We will wait and see.

We will report this time on one defendant only - Ahmed Aton.

The accusation: membership in Hamas.

The father of the prisoner, an Israeli citizen living in Jerusalem, is waiting outside, on the other side of the door which leads to the parking lot in the Russian Compound. The lawyer knows this and requests of the security guards who are present to allow him inside. They say that it is none of their business. He speaks gently to the investigator and to the judge. Both say that it is not their business either and he should talk to the person in charge but in the meantime he has to stay here in order to represent the prisoner, so the matter fell through.

The lawyer holds that the defendant is an Israeli citizen and his offence - if he has committed any offence at all - is to enter Jerusalem, and thus he must be judged by the justice of the peace and the military court has no jurisdiction over him.

The judge weighs this for several minutes, the investigator helps him and says: look at section on "the linkage test" and accordingly the judge reads the specific section decides that this court has the jurisdiction to extend the arrest of Ahmed Aton.

He tells that he was arrested on Nov. 5th, 2007. According to the investigators, on Nov. 7th, 2007. This difference is strange and each side stands firmly by its statement. Until a year ago he was the chef at the Har-Zion Hotel for ten years, and he speaks perfect Hebrew. About one year ago he left his place of work. He denies the accusation.  (We thought that if he had the intention of harming the people of Israel he could have poisoned all the personnel and the guests of the hotel during those ten years, but he did not do that).

The lawyer: You interrogated him for one month. He gave two versions. What more do you want of him?

The investigator: there are still differences between the suspicions referred to him and his confessions.

The decision of the judge: remanded in custody for 8 days, i.e. until next Thursday. We will follow up.