Ofer - Remand Extension, Incriminators

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Hagit Shlonsky, Hava Halevi (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

Courtroom 1: Remand Extensions

There are 58 names in the docket. From 10 AM to 1 PM 11 cases were heard. We report on a few of them.

Judge: Major Etty Adar

Ashraf Juaba  ID 901060327 ( Court Case 1385/10)

Defense: Atty. Muhammad Shadfan

Charges: Conspiracy to participate in an unlawful organization, contact with the enemy (conversation with a Gaza resident, member of Shuhada Al Aksa, who suggested the defendant start a military group) and receiving money from the enemy.

The first conversation took place in 2007. The suspect said: "Thank God I was arrested shortly afterwards." He was under administrative detention from 6.3.07 until 3.4.08. After his release the same Gaza resident called him again. His purpose, says the suspect, was to get money on false pretences.

The defense objects to the detention. He claims there is no security risk to the state or the people of Israel. After the member of Shuhada Al Aksa called the suspect again, Ashraf went to a friend of his who works for a counterintelligence agency (which collaborates with Israel) and told them about the conversation. He was asked to maintain his ties with the Gazan, and that's what he did. Ashraf received $5000 from the Gazan in order to establish an organization, but he bought provisions for his family, not bullets and missiles. Thus, concludes the attorney, the accused is not a security risk, and he should be released.

The judge handed down her decision in the afternoon. The man was released on bail until his trial.

Ibrahim Al Fath Ibrahim Burnat of Bil'in, ID 914122924

Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati of Gaby Lasky law firm

The prosecutor, of course, requests remand extension.

Charge: years long activity against the military in the area where the security fence is built, as well as "involvement with weapons," rock and gas grenades throwing.  [note the laundered language: the fence is no longer a separation wall or a barrier but a security fence. The term will recur later in connection with the Cave of the Patriarchs.] Several witnesses connect the accused to an illegal organization.

The prosecutor states that in view of the extensive evidence, a remand extension is warranted.

The defense states that the prosecution has submitted 15 charge sheets on the same issue. All the incriminations are familiar and sound like a laundry list. The prosecution knows the material well, there's no need for the numerous investigations, and the defense requests an abbreviated detention. The prosecution should submit an indictment or release the defendant.

Judge's decision: After having examined... suspicions... security risk... remand extension for 6 days, until next Sunday, 14.2.10. The judge orders medical treatment for the defendant's shackled legs and a phone call home.

Muhammad Dahman [ID ?]

Defense: Munzar Abu Ahmad

The defendant is 21 years old, from Hebron. He is a university student with no prior security convictions.

Charge: On leaving the Cave of the Patriarchs a knife with a broken blade was found in his possession. (probably a pocketknife). The charge sheet specifies that it was 12 centimeter long.

The judge cites that during the check-up he took out the knife and showed it to the guards.

The prosecutor confirms this fact adding that the defendant explained why he was carrying the knife (which apparently was not serviceable: it was indeed a switch knife,

but it wouldn't keep in place). A boy in his neighborhood had stabbed him a few months earlier and he wanted to take revenge, if the occasion arose. A day before his arrest, however, he gave up his plan, but the knife remained in his pocket. At any rate, said the prosecutor who is a known champion of human rights, "he carried a knife in order to hurt another person and threaten his life." This from a representative of the army that killed more than a thousand people and injured thousands more, lobed white phosphor bombs on Gaza and destroyed its infrastructure! He now inveighs against harm to another (Arab) person.

The prosecutor continues: he cites precedents explaining that "in a less combustible place than the Cave of the Patriarchs a man caught with a knife was detained until the conclusion of the proceedings". Thus the prosecutor sums up 43 years of occupation, barriers, food deprivation, expropriation of land, humiliations and illegal settlements. Yes, this has now become a combustible place."

I wanted very much to see the knife in question. After all, it was an exhibit in a trial, but it had not been brought to court. There is not even pretence of proper procedure, but nobody seemed to mind.

The decision is subject to plea bargain. 45 days from the arrest (already served), 4 months probation for 3 years and 1000 shekel fine or a month in jail.

The knife is forfeited.

The defendant said, "I'm sorry."

Asslam Dahman, ID 852802727

Defense: Atty. Munzar Abu Ahmad

At first we thought the defendant was a minor; he looked 12, but was actually 19, a high school senior. He wanted to be arrested, so he put a 15-cm. knife in his pocket and went to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. He was stopped there. Why did he want to be arrested? Perhaps he's not unlike young Israelis who run away to Eilat when they fight with their parents. Or perhaps he wanted to be a hero because he was tired of looking so small and frail. Perhaps he failed in school? When you look at the Israeli jail from the Palestinian perspective, it has many other facets.

The court didn't have much to do with him, so he was sent to jail for 31 days from the day of arrest with 4-month probation for 3 years, plus 1000 shekel fine or a month in jail.

This knife too was forfeited. This defendant, too, said he was sorry.

Sabti Hawaja, ID 850293788, resident of Ni'ilin.

Arrested on 2.2.10.

Defense: Mahmud Hasan from Adamir Organization

The prosecutor mentioned "some issues with Hamas". This obscure sentence constitutes evidence, and the prosecutor gave the judge a confidential file to examine.

The defendant came to the interrogation center by summons from the GSS, not brought from home. Here began the cat-and-mouse game we know from many other remand extension hearings:

Defense: How many times was he interrogated?

Prosecutor: Once.

D: Since then he has not been interrogated?

P: No. There was a certain development.

D: When did the development occur?

P: The answer is in the confidential file.

D: Did he answer the questions?

P: He denied the allegations.

D: But he answered. As to the charge of rock throwing, is it based on M.A.'s testimony? (for further information on M.A. see Amira Hass' article in Haaretz of 12.2.10)

P: The answer is included in the confidential file.

D: You allege that he was a member of Hamas. At what time?

P: During the elections to the legislature.

D: Namely, 4 years ago. How many more interrogations are needed?

P: It's in the confidential file.

D: How many? Three? Five? Half an hour? An hour?

P: 3 investigations. But we can't commit to an exact number.

The defense sums up: the defendant is a university student. He spends most of his days on campus, coming home twice a month. He was summoned to an interrogation and he reported promptly, which attests to his character and shows that he is not a flight risk. The main incrimination is that of M.A. who was already declared unreliable. I move to release my client until the trial.

No decision was given. The hearing continued on 18.2.10. We'll report on it separately.