Ofer - Holding and trading of combat materiel, Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
10 AM - the place is quiet and deserted: no Palestinians and no uniformed personnel in sight. Today, hearings take place only in the Appellate Court and in the Court for Administrative Detention (where we are barred from observing). No other hearings take place due to a field trip or some holiday for the court staff.
Courtroom 3: Appeals
Judge: Deputy Chief Justice Nethanel Benisho
Prosecutor: Shlomi Schneider
There are 24 names in the docket with no reference to the category of charge. By noon, we heard five cases, three of which were not on the list.
Following is one report of a verdict appeal and three reports of detention
Hassan Yussuf Daoud Dar Halil - ID. No. 909927956
Case No. 3335/08
The defendant is charged with "holding a position in an unlawfulorganization." He served as spokesman of Hamas and is known as a man of moderate views. We have been following his trial
since the beginning of 2007
(see earlier reports from Ofer Military Court on 20.2.07 - 26.3.07 - 6.12.07 -13.12.07).
2 family members are present in court (wife and daughter).
The defense appealed the verdict through defense attorneys Ahmad Safiya
and Jawad Boulos, both present in court. As proof of the important status of the defendant, the Chief Prosecutor, Erez Hasson, walked in during the hearing and sat next to the prosecutor.
The judge recapitulated several issues that had come up in the earlier trial:
-testimony (by GSS investigators and other witnesses) was presented in camera, behind the scene, in contravention of the principles of transparency and proportionality);
-definition of the role of the appellant
- the nature and the scope of his action; what is the meaning of "spokesperson" etc.
The judge's conclusion: .There's no question that the defendant is an inveterate criminal... undeterred by earlier punishments... we endorse the lower court's decision to sentence him for 6 years in jail plus 2 years probation.
Ahmad Saadat - Case No. 2958/06
Secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,
nominated to the position after Israel had assassinated his predecessor, Abu Ali Mustafa. In retaliation, Minister Rehavam Zeevi was assassinated by the PFLP on 7.10.01.
Saadat, with his comrades, was arrested by the PA, and, under American pressure, was eventually incarcerated in Jericho, which is under PA jurisdiction. On 14.3.06 he and his comrades were kidnapped by IDF soldiers, and brought to jail in Israel.
He is charged with planning the assassination of Minister Zeevi.
His wife and son were present in court.
The hearing focuses on the prosecution's request to extend the detention (which is already 2 years old) by another 6 months. (The rule in military courts is that the period between the day of arrest and the handing down of the verdict should not exceed two years.
An extension must be obtained if the detention is longer. In Israel the period between arrest and the conclusion of the proceedings is limited to nine months.)
At the start of his trial Saadat declared that he does not recognize the authority of the military court. This time, too, he refused to get up when ordered by the judge to rise.
The judge ordered him out of the court, and he was ushered out.
The defense attorney, Mahmud Hassan (from "Admir" organization) stated that he was prevented from pleading in his client's name, whereupon the judge (disapprovingly, H.S.) told the attorney that he should have notified the court in writing.
Aaleb Abed Algalil Issa Ad'is - ID. NO. 900076654
Case No. 2963/08
The defendant is a shoe manufacturer and merchant from Hebron, 32 years old.
His mother and brother are present in court.
He is accused of trading in combat material. The indictment states that the offense was carried out 2 years ago. He was caught at Allenby Bridge with a gun in his possession, but charges were brought only recently. The lower court decided to release him, but under limiting conditions. This is what the prosecution is contesting.
The defense, Attorney Shadi Jaber, requests that the court reject the appeal.
The defendant has no criminal record. The gun had been bought 2 years earlier.
The limiting conditions will assure that he report to court when summoned.
The judge will hand down his decision later.
Hassan Halil Muhammad Al Awidat - ID No. 850122367
Case No. 2951/08
An 18,5 year old boy from Bir-Naballa, arrested on 14.5.08
He is charged with breaching the separation fence and with staying
illegally in Israel.
His mother and father are present in court.
The appeal was lodged by the prosecution following the court's decision to release Al Awidat from detention on 3500-shekel bail. The prosecution bases its case on the testimony of an observer and on a videocassette recording an incident in which two boys (the detainee and his brother who was released by the police right after the arrest) are tending their sheep near the separation fence. A donkey they had with them is seen butting the fence. In the film, a man is seen returning the donkey from the Israeli side to the Palestinian side of the fence. The man's face cannot be identified, but it is the prosecution's contention that it is the boy, Hassan Awidat.
The defense attorney, Abeer Magher, claims that there is no evidence that the boy breached the fence (the first charge), and as for the second charge: staying illegally in Israel - there may be evidence, but there is no cause: the boys live in close proximity to the fence, and while tending their sheep and donkeys, the latter crossed (through a gap in the fence) into Israeli territory; the boys followed in order to bring the animals back. They managed to capture the donkeys about 10 meters beyond the fence and brought them back without staying in Israeli territory and without posing any threat.
Moreover, the defense argues that the videocassette was presented to the court after the judge had decided to release the detainee on bail, and thus had not been brought to her knowledge.