Ofer - Release on Bail, Danger to Regional Security

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Hava Halevi, Hagit Shlonsky

Translation: Marganit W.


This is a follow up on a hearing conducted in Justice Ostereicher's court 

on 4.9.08 (see Ofer report of the same date) concerning 6 Beit-Omar residents charged with membership, activities and holding positions in an illegal organization, as well as with transferring "enemy money" into the region. The prosecution appealed the judge's decision to release the detaineesinfo-icon on bail. The appeal was heard on 8.9.08 by Deputy Chief Justice Lieut.-Col. Nethanel Benishu. The state was represented
by Major Nir Keidar.

The Judge's decision holds 12 pages in which he examines the charges and the evidence in light
of the allegation of endangerment, which was the reason for the detention. The judge reached the conclusion that in the case of two of the defendants, (Detainee Number 1, Ali Shehada Abed Alfatah Jafer Aadi, and Detainee Number 6, Muhammmad Ahmed Ismail Aadi) there was apparent evidentiary base for conviction on charges of membership and positions in HAMAS and hence for "danger to security", which warrant detention. As for the other four detainees, the judge saw no danger to security in the allegations against them, at least not enough to warrant detention. Thus, the four were released on 6000-shekel bail.

Today, in courtroom 4, presided by Major Menachem Lieberman, the four detainees previously released
on bail are brought in, accompanied by a couple of family members. The two detainees who were not released because they were deemed too dangerous, sit on the bench, in prisoners' uniform. They are joined by a third detainee.

The prosecutor presents a revised indictment of 8 men jointly charged [the eighth man, whose name we did not get, sits in the defendants' box; the seventh defendant is the Beit-Omar Orphans Society]. Defense Attorney Ahlam Hadad states that she has preliminary objections to some clauses in the indictment.

The arraignment hearing is set for 17.11.08.

In the courtyard where family members wait, we exchange a few sentences with the detainees. It turns out that they are teachers at the orphanage, where 250 children reside and study, and who have no other home. The defendants were charged with "consorting with the enemy and receiving enemy money". They tell us that they have received no financial aid, and that the orphanage depends on charity that Muslims give as part of their religious practice. What will become of the orphans, they ask. Will they live on the streets? The two detainees who remained in custody because they constitute "danger to security" are the orphanage principal and the treasurer. The military courts are going after the weakest link in society. Various social organizations - orphanages, clinics, schools, kindergartens, charitable associations, prisoners support groups and women's organizations - have become frequent targets for punishment and extortion under the pretext of fines and bails.

The docket for this courtroom includes 34 names, of which 20 are accused of "membership and activity" and "holding positions" (in illegal organizations).