Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Remand Extension, Barred (from meeting with attorney)
Translation: Marganit W.
There are 13 cases in the docket, (or the way the lawyers and judges refer to them: "bring in No. 8, then No. 11. No. 2 is mine...")
Due to the structure of the courtroom, we are unable to see the detainees. They sit on the other side of a small partition, blocked further by the backs of three policemen or guards. The interpreter, as usual, is quite redundant; when translation is called for, the defense attorney translates for the detainee.
Justice Avshalom Meushar reports to work in full regalia: Major's insignia, the black beret of his Artillery unit, Military Prosecution sign; on his right breast pocket three decorations testifying to his participation in the nation's wars, and on the left, two (unrecognized by us) military pins and a tank.
Attorney Ibrahim Abu Ghosh represents Fahd Muhammad Saad Nimer Salah. What is the charge? As always, it is contained in a secret file. Even after eight days of interrogation, the detainee has not admitted to any of the charges and he denies the allegations (known only to the GSS). But lo and behold, this morning new secret information has surfaced, requiring remand extension of eight more days to conclude the interrogation. Why eight days? Because in the next couple of days the entire staff of the detention center (perhaps the whole system) is going on leave, for social or educational purposes. Then it's weekend. Thus, the hearing won't resume until Monday. We've often seen how the convenience of judges and court staff takes precedence, determining detainees' remand extensions.
The dialog between Itzik Yaacoboff, the police investigator, and Attorney Abu Ghosh contains nothing new: the entire case is contained in the secret file before the judge.
In summation the defense says: the motion is based on the GSS interrogation. The detainee has consistently denied all the allegations. Now suddenly secret information has surfaced. But apart from that, nothing connects the defendant to the charges brought against him. He has been deprived of liberty for 8 days, without any proof. Now the investigators want 8 more days in order to pressure him to confess to something he has not done. The court's break is no excuse for extending his remand. The felonies, if there were any, were committed many years ago.
The Judge's Decision: remand extension for 8 days, as requested, in order to allow the investigation to conclude.
Thus ended the legal show and the bureaucratic process began. One by one the remaining 12 detainees walked in, dressed in prison uniform. They were told by their attorney and by the judge that "an agreement" had been reached. Namely, the attorney had agreed in their name to a 9-day remand extension. In half of those hearings we were asked to step out because the detainees were barred from meeting with their attorney. After pacing the floor of the entrance hall, staring at posters of "Prisoner's Rights" and "Prison guard's Prayer" and inhaling pungent lunch odors, we were fed up and so we left.