Ofer - Release on Bail, Remand Extension

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Hava Halevi, Hagit Shlonsky

Translation: Jonathan M.

At 2:30 pm the place looked deserted. Not one of the courtrooms had a list of the hearings posted, and in most of them no hearings took place. A handful of Palestinians (relatives of detaineesinfo-icon) were hanging around.

We entered courtroom 6 were hearings on extension of remand in custody were held.

Judge: Boaz Oren (we have never seen him or heard of him).

The court dealt with 9 detainees until 5:30 pm. We will report on 7 of the hearings.

In the dock are 4 young detainees who are still under investigation and whose indictment has not been issued yet.

Sufian Padaiz  - I.D 911709756

Marwan Aaraf - I.D 850667346

Anis Sablaban - I.D 850278722

Faissal Mahpud  (?) - I.D 850633165

No relatives are present.

The prosecuter is replaced by a plain-clothes policeman/investigator, as is the custom with representatives of the investigation. Defense attorney Abu-Omar asks to deal with each case separately. The judge pushes to deal with all of them as one case. The defense attorney insists and begins asking the investigation representative the usual questions which belong to this part of the show (when did the offense take place, when did the arrest take place, who were the incriminators, where did the interrogation take place, etc.)

As expected,l the investigator repeatedly evaded answering the questions. The judge backs up the investigator and says that there is no need to answer the questions at this stage or reveal details of the investigation. He dictates to the typist a version of the exchange in his own words, which includes things which were not mentioned, but which definitely belong to the well known ritual of the show.

The defense attorney complains that none of his questions have been answered. He asks that his client be released.

Judge's ruling: from the confidential file it seems that there is reasonable suspicion...remand in custody extended by 8 days, as requested by the investigator, until Sunday, 29.6.08, 11:00 am.

Again the judge urges the defense attorney to bunch the hearings, since the evidence is the same in all 3 cases. The investigator also tries to persuade the defense attorney to agree that those detainees be remanded in custody for 8 days, and if they are not charged, they will be released. The defense attorney asks the detainees if they agree and they do. The judge orders the typist to issue copies of the minutes of the first hearing for the three others, which means that the ruling for the 4 of them is identical.

The defense attorney tells us that the four are probably suspect of "membership and activity in an illegal organization."

Before the hearings of two Palestinian youths commences, the judge deals with the case of minor (name and file # were not mentioned) who is hospitalized at Hadassa Hospital, Eyn Karem. A medical report states that he is unable to attend the hearings for extension of remand of custody. The investigator asks the judge to extend remand custody until the end of the proceedings and reminds the judge that this can be done at the hospital, if necessary. The judge postpones the hearing for 72 hours until Tuesday, 3 pm.

Abu Omar agrees to represent the minor and to come to the hospital at the arranged time (the judge does not check to see if Abu Omar can enter Jerusalem. Can it be, that he is not aware of the fact that he might be prohibited from entering?). I called DCI (Defense Children International) to notify them about the case.

Two teenagers aged 16, from Katana. They were arrested on 4.6.08 for entering a restricted area. They were picked up near their homes in an area that was declared prohibited for Palestinians, including the village inhabitants who have lived there since ages.

One of the boys is charged with riding a bicycle which he found in the area.

Yasser Hassan Muhamad Taha

His mother is present.

Muhamed Al-Hushy ia - Case 2860/08

His father is present.

During their first remand in custody hearing the two were released on a 10,000 NIS bail in order to ensure their appearance in court. The families could not pay the sum, and the two were left in custody. During the second hearing the court dropped the sum to 8,000 NIS, but this also was beyond the reach of the family, and so the boys remained in custody... The father of one of the teenagers describes in fluent Hebrew the dire financial situation of the family that can't even afford a lawyer. Not only is the father unemployed, but there are two sick children in the family who need long term treatment. One of the boys needs to get a monthly checkup at the Hadassa Hospital and is likely to lose his permit as a result of this arrest.

The judge wants to appoint a lawyer. There is a lawyer in the courtroom (Attorney Darwish Nashaf) who volunteers to represent the boys. After a few minutes of reviewing the file he approaches the judge and pleads passionately: a child has to be released (he quotes a verdict from the Israeli District Court)... some sort of symbolic fine can be imposed, or do without a bail... the offenses don't justify detention... they have a clean record... they did plead guilty and saved the court precious time...

After this, the attorney requested a 10 minutes' break to make a deal with the prosecution. His request was accepted. Eventually, the judge accepted the plea bargain arranged between the 2 sides and pronounced the verdict:

Both teenagers pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 18 days in prison, which is equal to the number of days they had already been detained (from 4.6.08 to 22.6.08) + probation of 6 months during a period of 3 years + a fine of 500 NIS for Yasser Taha,

and 750 NIS  for Muhamed Hushyia (for riding a bike found in the ‘forbidden area').

The parents were hoping that they would be able to take their children home right away, but because of the late hour and the unclear release procedure they had to wait for a long time. The judge did not give any instructions regarding the release procedure and the attorneys are not familiar with the local bureaucracy, and did not even know in which detention center the boys were being held. We tried to advise them, but eventually,

the parents had no choice and went home - they would take care of the payment and the release on the following day.