Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Remand Extension, Barred (from meeting with attorney)

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Tova Szeintuch, Roni Hammermann (reporting)

Unusual shift

The Palestinian attorneys are on a solidarity strike with the population of Gaza

Judge: Gal Rosenzweig

Police investigator: Itzik Yakobof

The first case is a man barred from meeting his attorney. We have to wait outside.

The hearing lasts 45 minutes (an average hearing lasts usually 5 - 10 minutes)!

While we are standing outside the courtroom, Itzik comes out upset, together with an other investigator, while holding a document in his hands and asking angrily "who has taken this witness' testimony?" and rushes somewhere to find out. After a couple of minutes he gets back into the court room. This scene repeats itself several times, and we wonder what is going on inside. Since there are no lawyers, we have nobody to ask. Other people of the investigation team are coming and going. There is an atmosphere of great agitation.

After 45 minutes the second defendant is led in. He too is barred from meeting his attorney. The hearing lasts 15 minutes, also rather long.

At last, at 11:30, we are allowed into the courtroom.

The defendant is Amjad Fuad Faruk, whom we know from last week ( ID 955138730) He is has been under arrest since 19.11.08, and he denies any connection to the alleged offences, which are specified in the secret file.

Last week, his custody was extended for 11 days, and he was promised by the judge (Agassi) that this was the last time before an indictment will be brought in. But today he is told that his lawyer has agreed (by phone) with the prosecution to extend his remand for another 7 days.  Amjad reminds the court of last week's arrangement and that he does not agree to be in remand for another 7 days. The judge Rosenzweig immerses himself in the file. He takes out every document, reads it carefully and asks Itzik questions concerning certain details. Itzik is obviously quite struck by this unusual inquisitive behavior of the judge, and when Rosenzweig points out another unclear issue he exclaims: "Your honor, there are judges who believe in what is written here!"  

At an other point Rosenzweig shows Itzik 3 documents and asks if he knows what is written in them. Itzik's perplexed reaction: "Is this supposed to be a quiz?" 

This goes on for 45 minutes. Nevertheless, in the end, the judge extens the remand for 7 days, as the investigator has asked for.

What we were witnessing in this hearing was the pedantic, thorough and detailed working of a judge, who took his responsibility seriously. Not more. There was no evidence that he had any doubts in the soundness of the military court procedures. He just wanted to do his work in the best possible way. Just imagine, all judges would act in this manner. The military court system would brake down in no time! It is unfeasable to think, that you can dedicate 45 minutes to the case of one suspect!

But Rosenzweig's working method highlights, by contrast, the farcical character of the usual procedures at the military court, where 5 - 10 minutes are enough to decide the fate of a person.