Ofer - Release on Bail, Remand Extension

Facebook Twitter Whatsapp Email
Hava Halevi, Ofra Ben Artzi (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

We'd like to point out that all the people included in this report had no criminal records and no prior offenses; they were incriminated, detained, fined and branded as criminals. This is obviously a systematic and tendentious attempt by the occupying regime to maintain control over the occupied population by turning them all to criminals, from Hamas to Palestinians staying in Israel illegally (excepting those who turn collaborators).

There are 52 remand extension cases in the docket. We attended a few of the hearings.

Judge: Captain Naphtali  Shmulevitz

Prosecutor: Captain Odelia Amos

Defendant: Mahmud Barakat  Malki, ID No. 949800692  Case No. 4981/08

Charge: Belonging to a terrorist unit, hurling explosives, planning a kidnapping.

Defense: Iyad Walid

Mahmud, a resident of Jilazun refugee camp, near Ramallah, was incriminated by several prosecution witnesses. One of them identified his picture and called him by a certain appellation that was repeated during the hearing. As always, there are solid grounds for remand, based on previous decisions of the military appeals court.

The defense says his client denies all the allegations: it is a case of mistaken identity. He has a clean record. The testimonies are inconclusive: no specific dates are stated.

The judge rejects the defense's arguments, underlining the severity of the allegations and the "endangerment" involved. There is no room for commutation or substitution of detention either.

Mahmud's 14 year old sister, Bra'a Malki, ID No.860090273, Case No.4995/08 and her friend, also a minor, Samah Samada'a, ID No. 859218174, Case No 5001/08 were detained at the checkpoint. Their files were included in the docket, but the hearings were postponed by 2 days.

Defendant: Yusef Altrada, ID No.852889831, Case No.4958/08

Charge: Illegal stay in Israel, plus throwing rocks at a policeman

Defense: Nasser Nubani

Yusef, twenty something, needing work in the depressed economy of the West Bank, risked his life infiltrating into Israel through the fence. While trying to flee he was shot (luckily he was only injured in the hand and foot). In view of these circumstances, it is hard to accept the prosecution's allegation that he managed to throw rocks at a policeman.

The judge showed concern for the defendant's well being and ordered a medical examination, but he did not accept the defense's claim that Yusef had already been punished, being shot and injured. Using earlier decisions by the military appeals court regarding "endangerment," and emphasizing Yusef's "attempt to flee" before he was shot and wounded - the decision was: detention until the conclusion of proceedings.

Defendant: Omar Abu Sneina, ID No.937539708, Case No. 4938/08, from Hebron

Charge: membership and activity in an unlawful organization

Defense: Nasser Nubani

Omar, in his early twenties, is suspected of membership in the Boy Scouts, of watching a Hamas festival and of membership in Ossara, [a Hamas sponsored Koran reading group], for five months in 2005-06.

The defense claims "obsolescence" [ since there was a long delay between the alleged offense and the trial, during which period the defendant went free and was not detained, which testifies to his not being "dangerous".] This claim, we noticed, is often invoked in courts.

The defense also asserts that the allegations are based only on the defendant's statement with the police, and that he has no prior convictions.

The prosecutor tried in vain to substantiate her claim regarding the defendant's "membership and activity " during the intervening years, mostly because he ceased his membership in the organizations when they were outlawed. The judge demanded further explanation. The prosecutor left the court to have the case further investigated, and an hour later she announced that the indictment would be amended, in accordance with the defense's request: the defendant was released on 4000 shekel bail. Since Omar is a salesman at a clothing store, earning 1300 shekel a month, the defense asked to reduce the bail. The judge responded: "In these circumstances, the sum is not exorbitant and I accede to the prosecutor's motion...."