Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Remand Extension, Health Problems

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Roni Hammermann, Tova Szeintuch (reporting)

Translation: L.W.

Remand extension hearings at the Russian Compound begin at 10:00. We arrived at 10:00, handed in our cellular phones and ID cards.

They explained to us that we must wait till they come to fetch us, so that we will have escort "to the courtroom," as requested by the police investigator who was contacted by the policewoman on duty at the entrance.

After ten minutes, we asked "when will someone come for us?" "Don't know," said the policewoman, who was bothered by our presence. (The waiting corridor is narrow, and we were encroaching on her space.)

After 30 minutes our behaviour became a bit more assertive, because we got the hint: we are not welcome in the courtroom.

A passing policeman saw no imminent threat in us, and he led us to the courtroom.

We entered. Present were Judge Hanan Rubinstein, investigator Awida and the defense lawyers Maamoun Hashim and Fares Sabah.

There were 13 files, nine of which were detaineesinfo-icon prohibited from meeting a lawyer.

When the prohibited detainees entered the courtroom, we and the defense lawyers went out of the courtroom at the request of the investigator.

Again - a narrow corridor in which to wait. An officer passed by and asked the four of us not to stand there. But there is a problem (says the Shabak): the chairs that were prepared for waiting and located in another corridor, where we had been asked to wait in previous weeks. The problem is that Shabak (GSS) doesn't want us there... Big problem...

As for the large number of prohibited detainees, the defense attorneys told us that "there are new ones from all over the area."

One of the lawyers had a paper with the names of two women arrested ten days ago, whose families are looking for them and do not know where they are. While we stood in the corridor, the lawyer asked a Prison Service warder (responsible for security prisoners) whether they are in this prison. "No," he replied, "they are not in this detention center."

We were present in two remand extensions, during which the defense lawyers presented their claims to the judge, without their clients presence, as those were barred from meeting with their attorneys.

In one case the investigator asked for 18 additional days for investigation. The defense attorney objected - the judge decided 18 days.

In the second case, the investigator asked for 15 more days. Advocate Maamoun Hashim objected and began to pose questions to the investigator: we counted 13 questions to which the investigator consistently responded that he cannot answer as "the material is classified."

The defense attorney asked, for example, how many times the detainee had been interrogated by Shabak, and whether the interrogations are carried out at reasonable hours. The investigator responded that he could not answer, but added that the interrogations were at reasonable hours.

The judge came to the aid of the investigator and read out the hours of ten of the interrogations, and they were "convenient hours." The attorney asked about his client's health. The answer was: "the Prison Service doctor examined him when he was brought in to detention and he was "okay" as long as the form did not mention that he was ill."

The advocate produced a report from Ramallah Hospital explaining the detainee's condition:

he has fluid in his testicles and needs to undergo surgery.

Maamoun wanted to give the report to the judge, but when the judge saw it, he backed off: "And what should I do with this?" It was decided to add the report to the file.

The investigator got the requested 15 days...