Salem - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing

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Ruthie Tuval, Hannah Heller

Translation: Marganit W.

Courtroom 1

Judge:  Captain Ahsan Halabi

Case: Ali Muhammad Hassan Ali Tawil

Defense: Muhaned Harez

Charge: preparing, throwing and laying a bomb; trading in firearms and harboring wanted men (nine counts in all in the original indictment).

Procedural category: Evidentiary

There is a plea bargain in place, but the judge explains to the defendant,

that even after he confesses, the judge is not obligated to accept the bargain. The agreement is on 44 months in jail and 6000 shekels fine.

Prosecutor: In some of the charges, it is doubtful that circumstantial evidence exists. Some of the charges are outdated, which reduces the defendant's "dangerousness". As for harboring wanted men, this was humanitarian, not military, aid. Similarly, there is no indication that any harm was done. The defendant's admission saved the court time. He had no prior record, so there was reason for leniency in the plea bargain.

Defense: in the bomb making he had a very small part and he was not the instigator. The alleged crime took place in 2004. The defendant is a married man, he has embarked on a new life. His four-year old daughter is present in the court.

Defendant: requests another chance.

The verdict will be given later.

Case of a person whose name we were unable to catch. [ although I have no verifiable details, I think this is an interesting procedure]

There is a full agreement and a revised indictment has been submitted. The judge explains to the defendant that he is not bound by the agreement and he is free to change it. The charges are: conspiracy to throw an explosive device and membership in "Tanzim" organization. The defendant pleads guilty.

Prosecutor:  In the revised indictment, the defendant was convicted of the two charges he pleaded guilty to. They are severe charges, but there are extenuating circumstances: the aid he provided to wanted men was inchoate and did not result in any damage. The prosecution moves to accept the agreement.

Defense: Seconds the prosecution's move. The main charge of conspiracy happened long before his arrest, which proves that it was not serious and did not result in any damage. The defendant is a student at A-Najah University, accepts the agreement and wishes to go back to his studies. (The judge warns: it will end in probation, so he better watch out in the future.)

The second charge: aid to families of members who died in the organization's activities and founding a military unit that operated against security forces.

In 2006 he regularly provided accommodation to 2 wanted men. 5 months prior to his arrest he asked one of those men to supply him with explosives for a terrorist attack. Eventually, the plan was not carried out.

The judge (reading from the revised indictment): For a year the defendant was a member of an illegal organization and of a local unit that conspired to carry out terrorist acts and handling explosives. The plot did not materialize. However serious the charge, no real action took place. The main charge refers to events that took place long before his arrest and which did not come to fruition. In view of the lapse of time, it is conceivable that the defendant has abandoned the plan. He has no prior record and this is his first appearance before the court. He is young and was arrested when a freshman at the university. He cooperated with the police, pleaded guilty to the charges in the revised indictment and expressed remorse, thus eliminating the need to call witnesses. The judge sees fit to endorse the agreement.

The proposed punishment is 28 month jail sentence, 3000 shekels fine or

3 months jail, and 24 months probation for harboring terrorists, membership in an illegal organization, laying explosives, throwing objects and conspiracy to carry out any of the above.

Case: Ahmad Yussef Issa Elaz

Charge: Membership and activity in an illegal organization

Defense: Fares Abu Hassan

Category: Evidentiary

The defense makes sure the defendant understands the implications. Two witnesses were summoned for today's hearing and two for 6.4.08. The witnesses did not show up and the evidentiary session was set for 6.4.08.

Two minors accused of stone throwing:

Muhamad Anuar Zabari Harsha

Defense: Wissam Agbaryia

A final agreement for 4 months, 1000 shekels and probation. The judge and the defense inform the defendant of the indictment, and he pleads guilty to throwing stones at the security wall at Kaffin on 13.12.07.

Prosecutor: the defendant was a minor at the time of the alleged crime; there is no evidence that damage was done. I request to honor the agreement.

Defense: Nothing to add.

Judge: The defendant confessed to one charge: throwing stones at security forces. He was arrested on the spot. Both sides appealed. The judge takes into account the young age of the defendant, his clean record and his earlier admission, which eliminated the need to summon witnesses. The judge accepts the plea bargain, but makes the punishment a little stiffer in order to deter others: 4 months, 1000 shekels fine or 1 month in jail + ten months jail sentence on probation for the duration of 3 years.

Tarek Juad Mussa Ghanem

Defense: Wissam Agrabyia

The defense hopes to reach an agreement similar to that of Muhammed. When the procedures are made clear to the defendant, he admits having thrown a rock at an Israeli officer and at the security wall at Kaffin, from a distance of 5 meters. He was 14 years at the time.

The defendant has nothing to say. He just wants to go back to school.

Judge: 4 months in jail, 1000 shekels fine and 10 months probation.

Case for the defense:

Imad Abed Al-Rahman Nimer Tim

Defense: Wissam Agrabyia.

There is a revised indictment; the defendant approves and pleads guilty.

Charge: aiding and abetting in a shooting incident.

Hearing is set for 6.4.08 when the case will be concluded.

The judge wants to speed up the process and reduce the number of witnesses, especially since there is a plea bargain.

Cases: Bader Muhammed Ibrahim Kabha  and Ahmed Fathi Muhammed Amarna (both 13 years old). 2 children (who are not detaineesinfo-icon) show up for arraignment. Their fathers are present in court.

Defense: Wissam Agravia.

Category: arraignment

The judge wants to reach a plea bargain.

Next hearing: 15.4.08.

Case: Fahdi Muhammed Salman Jalamna

Charge: membership in an illegal organization.

Defense: Farid Hoash

Category: arraignment

The defendant is not yet represented, and the defense requests one month deferment. The judge deems this delay too long and a waste of time.

The defendant would rather wait a month.

Judge: In these circumstances, another deferment is inevitable and the trial is set for 25.3.08. The defendant is required to take care of his representation. The court allows defendant and attorney to repair to an adjacent room to make the arrangements.

Case: Yusef Yusef Abd El-Kadr Sahali

Defense: Riad Anis

Charge: homicide attempt

Category: evidentiary

The judge wants to see evidence, the prosecutor asks not to go into details, but asks the court to hear two witnesses summoned for today. He reports an ongoing negotiation for settlement.

The defense is not clear about certain facts and wants to check them before the witnesses are heard. The judge accedes to the request, and the case is scheduled for evidentiary hearing and settlement on 30.4.08.

Case: Sultan Muhammed Hassan Abu Mustafa

Defense: Muhammed Halabi

Charge: shooting at a person

Category: arraignment

The defendant pleads not guilty. The defense cannot provide an alibi, but he contests the "trial within the trial".

The claims will be discussed during the next session which is set for 30.4.08 for evidentiary hearing.