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

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Norah Orlow, Roni Hammermann (reporting)

Russian Compound

Judge: Benzion Schaeffer

Police Interrogator: Itzik Yakubov

The first hearing started at 10:40

The attempts of the investigators to get rid of us continue. We are the only representatives of the public at the hearings for remand extension at the police detention center in the Russian Compound, and our presence is perceived as disturbing and threatening. Nevertheless, we will have to go on and demand the holding of a public trial, which is one of the most important principles on which due process rights stand.

Immediately upon his appearance at court, the interrogator Itzik Yakubov told us to get out. "why?" we asked -  "because", he answered  aggressively and supported his words by hand movements. We looked at the judge inquiringly, and he said that the detainee was barred from meeting a lawyer and that we have to leave the room. Only when we were waiting outside the courtroom we realized that one of the lawyers, Ahmed Abu Safiya, had stayed inside to discuss the case with the interrogator. According to a court decision by judge Asher Barack from three weeks ago (2.02.09), we were allowed to remain in court, when the lawyer of a barred detainee is present. When Itzik Yakubov on 2.02.09, as had become a habit for many months, had tried again to oust us from the courtroom, Judge Asher Barack decided that we may stay, and that the principle of a public hearing is of great importance. He did not think that our presence could endager or harm the  investigation process.

After the hearing, we complained to judge Benzion Schaeffer about the ousting and showed him the protocol with Barack's decision. While the judge was reading, Itzik accused us for the hundredth time, that we were liars and that we disseminate lies in our reports over the Internet.  "Why don't you show the judge the decision of last week, when you were "thrown out" of court?  (he was referring to a case which happened last week, when the interrogator Avi Akiva asked to hold one of the hearings "in camerainfo-icon", thus obliging us to leave the courtroom, Anyway, Schaeffer did not accept judge Barack's decision and told us in very clear terms, that as far as he is concerned, he will not allow us to stay in court during hearings of "barred" detaineesinfo-icon. Escorting us out of the courtroom, Itzik declared: "you can publish in the Internet that you are going to sue me for libel, see if I care!"