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

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Roni Hammermann, Tova Szeintuch (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

Russian Compound

Judge: A. Kramer

Police Investigator: Avi Akiva

Defense Attorneys: Mamun Hashim, Firas Sabah, Shkirat Fahmi,

Hafuz Balal

There are seven cases in the docket; two detaineesinfo-icon are barred form meeting with their attorneys.

We watched four cases, two of them of "barred" detainees.

First Case

A "barred" detainee. The police requests additional 15 days for investigation. Pleading for the defense, Attorney Firas Sahah.

The detainee is suspected of membership in a hostile organization. Most of the defense's questions are answered with references to the confidential file in front of the judge.

In his summation the attorney objects to the extension.

The police investigator, Avi Akiva, asks the defense and us to leave the court before continuing the hearing.

We remind Justice Kramer of the answer given to Attorney Gaby Lasky in a preliminary High Court decision regarding our presence, as civilian observers, in the public court hearings.

Investigator Akiva states that that preliminary High Court decision is irrelevant; the police intends to contest this decision by the HCJ [High Court of Justice] department of the State Attorney's office.

Justice Kramer wants to examine the decision. In the meantime Investigator Akiva requests a police injunction to have the hearing in camerainfo-icon, to prevent the observers from attending (in case the judge decides to maintain the preliminary HCJ decision).

The judge continues to peruse the decision. Avi Akiva returns with the police injunction. The judge wants an explanation why the hearing should be in camera. The investigator refers the judge to relevant clauses in the confidential report. The judge eventually accepts that the security exigencies in the area mandate hearing in camera.

The judge offers a compromise: nobody attends the hearing, except the judge and the investigator (as well as the typist and the interpreter).

When he has heard the confidential information, we'll be allowed in again.

And this is how it went.

After reading the file, the judge wrote in the protocol (my phrasing):

"... having examined the confidential file I decide against a public hearing for security reasons. In this specific case, the hearing will be in camera."

Decision: remand extension for 7 days to complete the investigation.

Second Case:

This detainee, too, is barred from seeing his attorney. The police requests 15 days remand extension.

Attorney Firas Fahmi represents the detainee.

The investigator wants this hearing in camera too. Justice Kramer wants to know if this means closed doors from the start. The investigator says yes.

We cannot be present during the attorney's investigation either.

This decision marks a deterioration in our status: up to now our presence was barred from attorneys' interrogations in cases of "barred" detainees (when the detainee was absent). Here, the judge sides with the police:

" ... the confidential file... for the sake of security in the regions the trial will take place in camera."