Salem - Plea Bargain, Holding and trading of combat materiel

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Sara Alimi, Judith Harmat (reporting)

Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

09:30 - We enter the courtroom and wait together with 7 people who are to be put on trial. They are sitting on the left-hand side of the courtroom and were not brought to the dock with handcuffs. These defendants were released on bail from detention.  We sit on the right-hand side of the courtroom, as instructed. 

4 armed soldiers, the prosecutor and a typist are also in the courtroom.  All of us are waiting for the judge, who arrives at 09:52.

The first defendant is brought into the courtroom:

Mohammed Hassan

Defense: Attorney Samara

Charge: Membership in an unauthorized organization, Hamas, from 2004 to 2006. 

The defendant pleads guilty.

The judge to the defendant: Did you understand?  Have things been explained to you?  He tells Defense Attorney Samara: "Feel free to talk with all the defendants."

At this point, the judge announces that he wishes to continue with cases that require a panel of judges.  All 7 of the people removed from the courtroom.  Their cases will be heard later.  The court is waiting for cases that require a panel of judges.

The families are brought in and sit in their appointed places.

Two detaineesinfo-icon are brought into the courtroom with their legs shackled.  One looks like a very young boy. 


Charged with serious crimes - manslaughter.

The witnesses must be summoned, and so the evidence hearing is set for 27.1.09 at 11:00 AM.  We will try to follow this trial. 

Samir Sa'id

There is an agreement regarding the evidence material, and the next session and hearing is set for February.  The judge and attorneys talk among themselves.  We can hardly hear what they are saying and decide to go to another courtroom.

Judge: Major Ahsan Halabi

Prosecutor: Noah

Defendant: Mohammed ???

We entered in the middle of a session and heard only that the defendant is charged with membership and activity in the unauthorized organization of Jama'a Al Islamiyyeh. The charge involves propaganda activity only: hanging pictures, distributing leaflets, and participation in marches connected with the elections in 2006, as well as attempts to raise financial help - all of which are considered minor crimes. 

The judge notes that the defendant's attempt to raise funds was unsuccessful.  During the last three months preceding his arrest he was not active at all.

The judge adopts the plea bargain: 14 months imprisonment from the day of arrest, a fine of NIS 1,000 or, alternately, one additional month of imprisonment, and 14 months on probation for 3 years.  

Defendant: Abed Mustafa

The defendant is charged with membership in an unauthorized organization and establishing contacts for [the purpose of] military activity, but the contact was severed, and no harm was done.

An indictment was initially submitted against the defendant charging him with possession of a pipe bomb and establishing contacts, as well as an attempt to establish a new group within the organization, but such a group was never established.  The defendant denies the charges against him.  

Witnesses were summoned who failed to prove the charges.  The only charge that remained was membership and activity in an unauthorized organization,

the Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade.

The defendant expressed remorse for his actions.   

The charges eliminated from the indictment, the defendant's confession and the plea bargain should be taken into consideration. 

Sentence: 14 months imprisonment, a fine of 2,000 NIS or two months imprisonment, and 12 months probation for 3 years.

Defendant: Tamer Mohammed Dawar Alawi

Defense: Halevi

The defendant appears to be a young boy.  He is charged with offering sanctuary to a wanted man and establishing preliminary contacts for throwing a pipe bomb. 

According to the prosecution, he has no previous record. The defendant confessed to the charges in the indictment.  No harm was caused by his actions.

He promises not to repeat these actions. actions

Sentence: 12 months in jail, a fine of NIS 1,000, and 18 months probation for 3 years (according to a plea bargain).  

We did not manage to catch the name of the next defendant.

Defense: Anna Sa'id

Charge: Membership of one year in a student group, an unauthorized organization belonging to Hamas, during 2003-2004.  At the time of the offense, the defendant was 15 years old and still a minor. 

The defendant studies engineering in Al Najah University [in Nablus].  He has no previous record.  He admits to the charge against him and promises that he will not repeat his actions. 

The judge wishes him success and pronounces the sentence according to the plea bargain reached between the two sides: 49 days in jail, as detention days,

a fine of NIS 1,000 that will be deducted from the NIS 10,000 that he deposited as bail, and 6 months probation for one year. 

Defendant: Mahmud Salah Mohammed Abdallah

Defense: Zahalka

Charged with hostile terrorist activity.

The trial was postponed until January.

Defendant: Yusef Mahmud Abu Salah

Defense: Brihan Khury

The defendant's mother is sitting in the courtroom crying.  The defendant tries to calm her with hand motions. He is charged with establishing contacts with the intention of placing an explosive charge in a bus carrying soldiers and then committing suicide. The defendant pleads guilty. 

The prosecutor: We are talking about a contact not made by the defendant's initiative. The connection was severed at the beginning and no damage was done.

The judge: Anyone who takes any part or agrees to take part in a suicide bombing... must receive a lengthy sentence in order to create a deterrent.

The judge adopts the plea bargain and takes the defendant's guilty plea into account, which saved the court time.

The judge sentences the defendant to 27 months in jail from the day of his arrest, a fine of NIS 7,000, of which 2000 that he already paid will be deducted,

and 24 months probation for 5 years. 

Defendant: Tariq Eshkar

Defense Attorney: Wissam Agbariyeh

Charge: Membership, when he was younger, in a student organisation belonging to the Islamic Jihad, an unauthorized organisation. The defendant was involved in propaganda activities. His actions caused no harm, and he has no previous record. 

Sentence: 11 months in jail, a fine of NIS 1,000, and 14 months probation

for 2 years.

Defendant: Mahmoud Kafayeh

Defense Attorney: Na'el Zakhalka

Charge: manufacturing incendiary material and establishing ties with intent of  manslaughter.

The next hearing was set for 28.1.09.

The court adjourned for recess, and we left after the show...