Ofer - Stone Throwing, Danger to Regional Security

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Judith Sternberg, Roni Hammermann (reporting)

Courtroom 7

Judge: Major Etti Adar

Prosecution: Captain Yshchar Erez 

Defense: Nery Ramati

10 cases of Palestinians  from Bil'in and Ni'ilin, arrested in early January, were going to be heard in this court room. We attended 2 of them.


Defendant :  File: 1112/10 - Ibrahim Halil Ibrahim Srour, ID 852405380 - from Ni'ilin

The defendant is accused of throwing stones, preparing Molotov Cocktails, collecting grenades and disrupting the public order. All these charges are based on the incriminations of a witness of the prosecution (witness nr.2) and render the defendant a threat to the regional security. The prosecutor demands detention until the end of the legal proceedings.

The defense argues that the incriminations of witness nr.2 are very problematic since many charges of other residents of Ni'lin are also based on the incriminations of the same person, who tells all kinds of "horror stories", which have to be examined very carefully and which are not supported by other witnesses. Witness Nr.2 was hit in his head by a gas grenade about 5 months ago, and according to a physician's report his physical and mental condition is very severe. This could be discerned even by us, who saw him sitting in the dock, completely unaware of his surrounding. Unfortunately, the GSS investigators too were aware of this and put him in a the cell with police plants, from where he returned with a "legend " about a military unit that operated allegedly in the village. The investigation "revealed" also that witness Nr.2 is married, which is not true.  

The defense also points to another fact that has to be taken into consideration: the defendant gave himself up to the police, after he found a summons from the army in his home to appear there. He knew that witness nr.2 was under arrest, and had he been part of a military cell, he would have tried to go underground and disappear. This fact should support the defense's demand to release the defendant. Another reason would be the visible eye disease of the defendant, which needs frequent treatment (his left eye was indeed inflamed and swollen). The lack of evidence in this case is very obvious, and the report about the events in the village which is included in the court's file, was never double-checked with the incriminations of the witness. The defendant has family in the courtroom as well as Israeli friends who are ready to guarantee that he will appear at the court hearings.

The judge's decision will be given on 24.01.10

This case and the following one shows the police's determination to break by all means the resistance of the Palestinians in Bil'in and Ni'ilin to the construction of the wall and to all its consequences. Bil'in has become a symbol for nonviolent resistance, and the police doesn't shy away from using unfit and unsuitable witnesses to incriminate Palestinians and to present them as dangerous criminals.

Defendant :File 1167/10 - Muhammad Atalla Hussein Amira - ID: 852230481 - from Ni'ilin

The prosecutor mentions that the defendant has a recent criminal record for throwing stones, for which he served time. According to incrimination by witness Nr.3, he is charged with being a member in a military cell. The degree of dangerousness justifies the demand for detention until the end of the legal proceedings.

The defense argues, that except for the incriminations of witness Nr.2 (as in the former case of Ibrahim Srour) the prosecution has no evidence, that the stories of witness Nr.2 are supported by real facts. Again he warns the prosecution to examine these stories very carefully. According to the memoranda of the interrogation of witness Nr.2, he told his interrogators that he was hit in the head by a gas grenade 5 months ago. Today the court could attest to the physical and mental state of the witness and could hear the physician's report about the suffering of depressions by his patient. As we already heard, witness nr.2 was sent to a cell with police plants from where he returned with a "legend" about a military cell that allegedly operated in the village.

The defendant has been in detention since September and was supposed to be released in 2 days. Witness Nr.3 mentioned on 10.1.10 that the defendant is one of the members of a military cell, but when he was asked to cite the names of the members, the defendant was not among them. His name appears only in connection with the establishment of the group, but was not mentioned with any of its activities. There is no clear picture about the dangerousness of this group. The defendant has been in detention since September '09, and so the defense demands the release of the defendant, as he obviously could not have been in the group since September; and now the group does not exist any longer.
A personal reason for his release is the bad health of his mother.

The judge's decision will be given on 21.1.10