Ofer - Release on Bail, Minors

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Norah Orlow (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

Even though I was told by the Court office that only urgent remand cases would be heard during the Succoth week, many hearings took place that day, and many relatives of detaineesinfo-icon waited to attend the sessions, hoping to catch a glimpse of their loved ones.

Outside, a curious sight caught my eye: two picnic tables (made of wood and covered with a canopy) stood in the waiting area, inscribed with the logo "The Soldiers' Welfare Committee". Palestinian visitors made use of these benches while waiting to be ushered in. It is nice to know that the surplus donations to the Soldiers' Committee are thus used. It is not clear that this was the original intention, though.

I am reporting on two hearings that I attended:

Bassel Mansur Ali Mansur - Case No. 3225/09.  ID 9961755344

Resident of Bil'in; arrested several days earlier.

Judge: Sgt. -Maj. Ronen Atzmon

Prosecutor:  Cpt. Yael Cohen Vagon

Defense: Atty. Neri Ramati from Gabi Lasky's law firm.

Lately, the GSS suggested to Bil'in residents wanted by the army that they might report to Ofer Camp, instead of waiting for their arrest in their village. Bassel Mansur decided to comply, because he got tired of the nightly raids by soldiers, who turned his house upside down and frightened his wife and children, then left the house because he was not found there. As soon as he showed up at Ofer, he was arrested "on charges of disturbing the peace in Bil'in and because he was identified in a photo" [during a protest against the separation wall].

The prosecution agreed to release the suspect with a 2000 shekel deposit. It alleges that there was some shoving and a damage to the separation wall. An indictment may be issued later. So far there are no grounds for ‘arrest until the conclusion of the proceedings', so the prosecution calls for release on bail.

The defense objects to these conditions, seeing that there is no evidence against his client. It is a case of mistaken identity: the person in the photo is not the detainee. The detainee reported to the police out of his own free will. Thus he should be released on his own recognizance. The defense doubts that an indictment will be issued. The suspect can be summoned to court for a hearing or the investigation can be conducted through his attorneys.

The judge's decision: I examined the material in the file, including the photos used in the incrimination. In photos 10 and 20 there is someone who looks like the suspect. Under these circumstances, there is ground for the prosecution to consider an indictment.

However, the judge reduced the bail to 1000 shekels. If no indictment is presented within a month, the suspect will get his money back.

Odi Ziad Ya'akub Aliyan. ID  401116140, thirteen and a half years old

Ahmad Fuad Abed Alrauf Ramana, ID 850220823, fourteen and a half years old.

Both children are from Jilasun.

Judge: Major Amir Dahan

Prosecutor: Lieutenant Tom Mor

Defense: Atty. Iyad Misk [from DCI = Defense Children International]

The mothers of the children are present in court, as well as 2 other relatives.

The children are brought into the courtroom, handcuffed. The younger one cries. Atty. Misk hugs him and tries to calm him down, as does another defendant sitting in the dock. Eventually, the child is pacified, when he sees him mother in the court.

The children were caught at Atarot checkpoint carrying two knives that they had purchased that day. They came there to threaten the soldiers. The judge states that "luckily one of the policemen noticed their strange behavior and the knives, thus preventing a terrible tragedy that might have cost the defendants their lives; it was an act brought about by boredom."

The judge orders the children released on probation, but not before he lectures them sternly. "Having explained to the defendants the severity of the offenses and the meaning of probation [‘next time, no lawyer and no judge will help you, you'll go to jail...'] I am satisfied that they understand the actions and their implications."

The penalty includes 7 days in custody, which they have already served while in detention.

The children were supposed to be released on 1.10.19 with a 2500 skekels fine each, but their parents were unable to pay this sum, so they remained in custody at the Russian Compound until today's hearing. In a plea bargain, it was decided that the additional days in custody will serve as an alternative to the fine.