Ofer - Interrogation of Witness, Incriminators

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Roni Hammermann, Norah Orlow (reporting)

Translation: L.W.

We came to follow up the trial of Saed Suhir Jamil Alhamamra - File 1919/09, resident of Hussan (see report of hearing: Ofer 22.7.09).

He is accused of "membership in an unlawful association" (The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).

Saed Hamamra belongs to a minority of defendants who do not admit to the charges against them (from the beginning he refused to sign the police statement after his interrogation in the police station).

He was arrested in February 2009, and has been detained in Ofer detention centre ever since.

His trial is now at the evidentiary stage.

Two defense witnesses have been summoned for today - one of them is Saed himself, but the other witness (also detained) did not show up because the prosecution succeeded in cutting a plea bargain with his lawyer: he was promised a lighter sentence if he refused to appear as a witness.

Judge: Captain Hilit Bar-On Biber

Prosecutor: Captain Oren Liber

Defense: Advc. Mahmoud Hassan

In his interrogation as a witness, the defendant says that he has no connection with his incriminator, Muhamad Shusha: he knows him as a resident of the same village, but that is all. There has never been a dispute between them, and that is not the reason why Shusha chose to incriminate him. In response to defense's question as to why he did not request from the police interrogator a confrontation between him and Shusha, he answered that he did request a confrontation, but none took place.

He declares himself as being a religious man who goes to pray in the mosque, wheras members of the Popular Front do not pray. He also relates that he works as a carpenter in his father's carpentry shop, goes occasionally to meet his cousins, and beyond that he has no time for other activities.

During the cross examination, the prosecutor tries to catch him out in a lie. He wants to know how come that the defendant did not know the incriminator, who was able to give quite a bit of information about him. Saed persists that it was only when he saw him in court that he understood that this was the man who incriminated him - a man whom he only knew before only by appearance.

He repeats that he has no time for other activities besides work, prayer and family visits.

From the cross examination:

Prosecutor: I am telling you that you are saying these things now in order to try to prove to us that you do nothing else. Do you try to distance yourself from things that you did in the Popular Front?

Saed: I am not a member in the Popular Front, neither do I belong to any other organisation. I do not involve myself with these things. I only work to provide a livelihood for my family and to help my father - and also [to help] my sister who has to undergo an operation, so that nothing [bad] happens to her.

Prosecutor: perhaps in one of your activities was to write slogans for The Popular Front?

Saed: no... neither did the man who incriminated me mention any specific time or place where I was supposed to write slogans.

Asked why he refused to sign the police statement, Saed answers: because what was written in the statement was a lie, and I did not do any such thing. I did not sign because the interrogator asked me about the Popular Front, and I answered that I have no connection [to the organisation], and then he wrote [all kinds of] things. I am innocent, and therefore did not sign. Had I signed they could have proved the charges against me [used my statement against me].

Two more evidentiary sessions for the defense were set for: 9.9.09 and 16.9.09 .

Two additional defense witnesses will be summoned for those dates.