Ofer - Plea Bargain, Release on Bail

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Norah Orlow, Ilit Rosenblum, Hagith Shlonsky (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

Many people were waiting at the entrance to the courthouse compound.  We were processed relatively fast, undergoing the usual individual search at the Women's room.

We divided our time among several courtrooms.

Remand hearings took place in Courtrooms 5 and 7. The docket included 44 detaineesinfo-icon.

Courtroom 7

Judge: Menashe Vahnish

A conveyor belt of short hearings all ending in remand extensions until a later date.

Here's a sample:

Ziad Abu Fanar
(ID 910451228) Court case Nr. 2045/08

The accused denies the allegations in the indictment that accuse him of throwing stones at security forces. He was incriminated by a witness, who identified him as a participant in the stone throwing incident.

The defense agrees to remand extension until the conclusion of the proceedings. Evidentiary hearing is set for 16.4.08 presided by Justice Lieberman, when both defense and prosecution will present their case.

Ashraf Aasi (ID 905600523) Court case Nr. 1981/08

Attorney Azbar (usually working at Salem) requests a postponement until he receives a cassette, which is part of the investigation material that the prosecution was supposed to give him. Azbar says he will probably reach an agreement with the prosecution, which will render the bargaining unnecessary. Thus, the judge defers the discussion of the remand until the conclusion of the proceedings, on 20.3.08 at 14:00.

Courtroom 3: Appeals

Judge: Benisho

Mahdi Muhamad Rashid Zalah (ID. 905755484) from Jilazun. About 37 years old

(born: September 1970).

His family is present in the court.

Appeal by the Prosecution.

Attorney: Ahlam Hadad

Mahdi's case has been in the courts for almost a year. During this time he was under administrative detention, and every time he was released, an indictment was brought against him. Part of the time he was released on probation with a 15,000 shekel bail vouched by a  third party. The charge against Mahdi is membership and activity in an organization called "Alahsan". He is also accused of replacing the head of the organization, i.e., "holding a position". There were two earlier indictments and then a revised indictment that includes evidence by one, Jamal Abu Sharifa. The defense reports that the witness stated that the purpose of the organization is to support poor and needy families. She demands that the prosecutor produce a document stating that the organization is illegal. The witness, she states, testified that the organization has the imprimatur of the Palestinian Authority, and thus cannot be considered unlawful.

The judge is not sure if this particular organization is included in the Military Commander's list of proscribed organizations, but his words imply that if the man was detained it means that the organization is unlawful...

The defense adds that there are distinctions in the involvement with the organization: some people work in it, some provide services such as plumbers, teachers etc. - are they all to be considered "active members?"

Judge's decision: postponement for further examination.

Courtroom 1

Judge: Ronen Atzmon

We listened to several cases including one of an Israeli citizen who committed a felony in the Occupied Territories.

Sultan Daud Abed Alfatuh Malah, ID 905146965. Case No.3688/06

He was represented by Attorney Samara in a plea bargain. A revised indictment includes 4 clauses: possession of combat material - arms trading - membership and activity in Shuhada El Aksa in 2004, including participation in demonstrations - and taking part, with others, in a shooting at Military Camp Ofer.

The accused pleads guilty to the revised charges.

Verdict will be handed down on 12.6.08, i.e., in 3 months.