Ofer - Holding and trading of combat materiel, Remand Extension

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Judith Sternberg, Ofra Ben Artzi (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

We report on three hearings of minors (16-17 years old) represented by Attorney Jalid Ihab from the PA Prisoners Office.

Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain some important details, so the report is incomplete [*see explanation below]. The Ofer Military Court would rather we did not report the hearings, so they try to hinder our efforts. However, with the help of family members, we were able to obtain names, ages and residences.

We attended hearings at the Remand Extension Court. We do not know the names of the judge and the prosecutors.

Defense: Atty. Jalid Ihab

Hamza Mussa Abu Snein, from the village of Sudra, a minor (looks like a child), has been detained for a week, on charges of trading in "combat materiel" that includes a gun and 6 bullets. Said "combat materiel" was handed to "another person without proper permission". It turns out that the "other person" was not, God forbid, Jesus, but a GSS agent. This is a well-known GSS tactic, to incriminate people in the territories, so the GSS can enlist them as collaborators.

Perhaps they tried to recruit him and he refused and was duly punished. However, it is possible that he was first incriminated so as to as to recruit him later.

In any event, the honorable judge, citing precedents set by the Military Court of Appeals from which he "did not see fit to deviate," decided that in a case involving arms possession there should be no alternative to detention. There are very few cases where the Military Court allows "alternative to detention" to Palestinians.

Yazan Ahmed Hussein Murkatan

Raef Muhammed Ahmed Kabaja

Two minors (16) from Tarkumiya.

They attend the same class at "Tarkumia High". Both are charged with throwing rocks. Here is what Yazan's father told us on the phone: On 8.7.09 soldiers surrounded the house at 2:30 AM. Ten soldiers entered the house, barging into the girls' bedroom and gathering all the women in one room. The father asked for an explanation, and a soldier told him: It's our job. The father protested that the women and children were frightened. The soldiers took out the father and four sons. When they identified Yazan "they blindfolded him with a rag, handcuffed him and took him away. Then they proceeded to his friend Kanaja's house and arrested him and a third boy, Ala Babsa. Surely there are other ways to deal with boys, even if they did throw rocks. But first, there should be a stop to the army's entry into Tarkumiya."

Even without the father's testimony, we know that the army patrols the village day and night, provoking the residents, especially the youths so they can be arrested. The system - courts and jails - is ready to accept them, or else, the judges and investigators will be jobless. The army works diligently to supply this juggernaut, the Occupation, with fresh bodies.

In Courtroom 4, presided by Captain Menachem Lieberman, we watched the middle part of the hearing. This was an important investigation.

Defense: Attorney Biton

Accused: Daoud Ismail Muhammad Abu Shehidem, ID No. 907599294 -

Case No.2064/09

As we walked in, a witness, Samer Zreir, was brought in. He is a prisoner in bright orange uniform. The charge is vehicular theft or armed robbery, and the question is whether Mr Shehidem collaborated in the offence. The witness speaks fluent Hebrew, no need for interpretation. He denies all the allegations, claiming that the police statement was coerced under beating, violence and emotional pressure.

Quote: "the statement was taken by Investigator Ben Lulu; it is his statement which he gave me... I was interrogated on three occasions and never admitted to anything... They threatened my family, my wife and child... they stood over me and beat me... The investigator told me: say yes! So I said, OK, let's get to the court and there I'll tell the truth... there are recordings of the interrogation."

The judge was impatient and concluded, "The witness admits nothing."

The Prosecutor asked the witness if he knew the defendant. The witness said, "They showed me Daoud's picture. This is not the man in the picture."

The judge concludes, "A hostile witness."

We had to leave before the end of the testimonies.


1. We could not find the lists of the hearings with names, ID numbers, case numbers, charges etc. The court was derelict of its duty to supply these.

2.The military courts refuse to provide us with protocols of the hearings we attend, at the end of the sessions (as they do to the lawyers). We can obtain protocols only through special arrangement with the secretaries and not on the same day.