Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Holding and trading of combat materiel, Remand Extension

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Tova Szeintuch, Yoella Har-Shefi (joint report)

Translation: Marganit W.

Russian Compound

There were only 3 remand hearings: One detainee was barred from meeting his attorney, and the other two had reached a plea bargain.

Judge: Sgt.-Major (res.) Elad Karner

Police investigator: Amri Awda

Defense: Atty. Fahmi Shkirat on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

It is 10:25. The detaineesinfo-icon are still not in. A member of Nachshon unit (responsible for bringing the detainees to court) tells the judge that the detainees are still being counted. The judge wonders why the defendants are not brought before the court. The Nachshon representative says the jail commander won't allow detainees out before the roll call is over. The judge goes out to explain to somebody what the priorities should be.

First detainee - barred from meeting with an attorney.

Atty. Shkirat on behalf of Atty. Ma'amoun Hashim.

Police Investigator Amri Aawda requests 18 day remand extension. This is the defendant's first remand. The investigator presents the judge with a confidential file. He does not seem to know much about its content.

Atty.: Since when has he been in detention?

Investigator: since 7.7.09

Q: Has he been interrogated?

A: Yes.

Q: What is he suspected of?

A (consulting the file): Membership in a hostile organization.

Q: Which one?

A: Also of trading in combat materiel.

Judge: He asked which organization.

The investigator peruses the papers: Hamas.

Q: Have any weapons been found in his possession?

A: No.

Q: Where was he arrested? At home?

A: Yes.

Q: Was he interrogated about military activity?

A: Yes.

Q: Actual activity or just planning? Preparations?

A: (refers the Atty. to the secret file).

Q: Was the arrest made only on the basis of intelligence?

A: ...

Q: Does he admit his complicity or does he deny everything?

A: admits some of the allegations.

Q: Did he have accomplices? Are they all detained?

A: It is in the secret file.

Q: Did he cooperate with the interrogators?

A: It's in the secret file.

Q: You said "military activity" - was anything carried out or just planned?

A: It's in the secret file.

Q: Has he complained about the interrogation? About his treatment?

A: There's nothing about it in the file.

The Defense sums up: Moves not to extend the remand.

The detainee is brought in. A tall, emaciated 40 year old man. His eyes are covered with a big black blindfold tightly secured. He is handcuffed, and his shoes have no laces. The blindfold and the cuffs are removed. His face remains blank.

The interpreter translates the remand request and the defense's response.

Judge: Do you wish to say anything?

Detainee: I have nothing to say.

The detainee sits down. The judge examines the secret file. He points to a certain paragraph and asks the investigator: "Is that what you meant when you said "partially admits?" The investigator nods.

Decision: Remand extension for (only) 11 days. Hearing set for 23.7.09.

When a detainee is "barred," the judicial rules must be strictly adhered to. There is no preclusion of additional remand.

The detainee listens to the decision with expressionless face. His hands are cuffed, his eyes blindfolded, he is let out of the courtroom.

Second Detainee

There is agreement between the sides. An atmosphere of camaraderie prevails in the court among the investigator, Faris Jaber, the defense, and the interpreter. Nobody pays attention to the detainee, a short young man who seems tense and upset.

Investigator: There's agreement on a 9-day remand extension.

Judge (to detainee): Who is representing you?

The detainee points to the attorney: Fahmi... He either forgot or he does not know his name.

Atty.: Has he been interrogated?

Investigator (consults his papers): The investigation is at the conclusion stage.

Decision: As per agreement. The file will be transferred to the military prosecution to determine if charges will be pressed.

Third Detainee

Enters Police Investigator Avi: There is an agreement. Request for 9-day extension.

The detainee, Muhammad Hassan Adrassi, is brought in. His handcuffs are removed. The attorney exchanges a few hasty words with the detainee. It is their first meeting, it seems. They form a small group of "co-conspirators" that includes the investigator, the interpreter and the Nachshon man. The investigator takes part in the exchange. Smiles all around.

Decision: As per agreement.... until 21.7.09.

The file will be transferred to the military prosecution to determine if charges will be pressed.

The attorney later tells us that somebody else has previously handled the last detainee's case, and that he only stepped in today.