Ofer - Stone Throwing, Remand Extension

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Roni Hammermann, Tova Szeintuch, Hagit Shlonsky, Norah Orlow (reporting the first case)

Translation: Marganit W.

Morning and Afternoon sessions

Courtroom 2

Judge: Major Sharon Rivlin Ahai

Prosecutor: Captain Yael Cohen Vagon

Defense: Atty. Gaby Lasky

Category: evidentiary hearing

The defendant: Muhammed Abed Al-Karim Mustafa Hatib - Case No. 3599/09 - ID No.451611053, resident of Bil'in and member of the Popular Committee Against the Separation Wall
(See earlier reports: Ofer 23.8.09/ 3.9.09)

Sitting in the audience were his wife, several diplomats and supporters of the struggle against the separation wall.

Two witnesses from Bil'in, both minors, were "summoned" to give incriminating evidence in court today; they were abducted in the middle of the night 8 days earlier. They were scheduled to testify the next day, but then a lawyers' strike broke out and no hearings were held. The defendant, too, released on bail, did not make it to the hearing, because Beituniya checkpoint was closed to Palestinians from the Westbank. So the two minors remained in custody until today (it is not clear if they'll be released after testifying).

They are 16 and 17 years old and were detained once before in the past. According to their statements to the police, they had given the interrogators the names of the members of the Popular Committee Against the Wall (in Bil'in) accusing those members of incitement and rock throwing.
Today, the two witnesses claim that those statements are false. Under cross-examination by the defense attorney they both state that the interrogators threatened them in order to extract information, and that, in fact, they know nothing about the Popular Committee. They took part in demonstrations a couple of times, when they were 14 or younger; they and their friends indeed threw rocks, but it was by their own initiative, nobody incited them. The names they gave to the interrogators were of their friends. The first witness says he is illiterate and has no idea what he signed with his thumb. To most questions posed by the prosecutor - who insisted they confirm what they said at their interrogation - they replied that what is in the statements is not true. They have no idea who organizes the demonstrations. They threw rocks inside the village, not against the wall and not at the soldiers.

The next evidentiary hearing was set for 23.2.10. Prosecution witnesses No. 5 and 6, who have been released, will be summoned, and so will witness No. 1.

Courtroom 5

Judge: Major Shemuel Fleischman

Prosecutor: Lieutenant Tom Mor

The accused: Jamal Mussa Hassan Jum'a, ID 080657216 - Police file 34013/09, Jerusalem resident

Represented by attorneys Fathi Shbeta and Mahmud Hassan (from Addameer)

The following report on the hearing regarding the extension of remand in custody of  Jamal Jum'a was written by Adar Grayevsky (who gave her permission to publish it here):

Today the military court at Camp Ofer has extended the custody of Jamal Juma`a by 3 additional days, following 2 weeks of detention  at the detention center of the Russian Compound in Jerusalem.

The prosecution requested that remand in custody be extended by 8 days. We were in the dark throughout the entire hearing, because the prosecution`s extension request was based on a confidential report submitted to the judge only. It was no surprise to learn that the report includes everything one would expect to find in such a report : Prima facie evidence giving cause to reasonable suspicion that the alleged offenses were committed, the need for taking additional interrogatory actions, and also the reasons for the arrest: the suspect endangering public security and fear of obstruction of interrogatory procedures.

Jamal`s attorney, who did not have any access to the report, as mentioned above, argued that the military court has no jurisdiction over Jamal Jum'a, an east-Jerusalem resident who holds an Israeli ID card. This claim was not discussed, since the judge ruled that it can only be done in an appeal session. Jamal himself argued that he was held for 12 whole days without being interrogated, and was later interrogated only once, which proves that there is no real need for additional time to interrogate him. Before the hearing began, Jamal addressed the large audience who had shown up to support him and said: "This is an attempt to silence the voice of the popular struggle against the separation wall and against the occupation, an attempt which is doomed to fail".

During the hearing, two vigils were held outside the Ofer Military Court, one on the Palestinian side and one on the Israeli side of the compound. On the Israeli side about twenty people had gathered, among them MKs Jamal Zahlaka from BALAD, and HADASH chairperson Mohamed Baraka. On the Palestinian side the vigil consisted of about 50 persons. Many representatives from foreign consulates such as the British, Spanish, Norwegian, and South African attended the hearing regarding Jamal Jum'a's extension of remand in custody.

Jamal Jum'a is a prominent activist in the human right organization `Stop the Wall` which for several years has been carrying on a successful campaign against the apartheid Wall. His arrest is part of a wide scheme to silence and punish leaders of the popular struggle against the wall and against the occupation. In September, Mohamed Othman, another activist of Stop the Wall was arrested, and then confined to a prolongued administrative detention. Abdalla Abu Rahma, a leader in the popular committee in Bil'in, will have a hearing tomorrow where the prosecution will ask to extend his detention until the end of legal procedures. Adeeb Abu Rahma from Bilin, has been detained for the last five months. His trial is due next week.