Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Release on Bail, Remand Extension

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Hava Halevi, Hagit Shlonsky

Translation: Marganit W. 

Russian Compound

Judge: Yaacov Suderi

Today we saw a judge who throughout the session pitted himself against the entire
system, including the investigators and the attorneys.

The session lasted about three hours covering four cases. If you're familiar with the
assembly-line of the remand extension hearings in the military courts, you'll appreciate
 how unusual this session was. There were moments of tension and consternation,
outbursts of anger by the judge and several investigators who took part in the
 The investigators, the policemen and the GSS men reacted incredulously to the judge's
 unwonted insistence on checking every detail in the investigation that would justify
the requested remand. It was a first for us, too, as we have never encountered a judge
 who challenges the automatic agreement between investigators and judges.

Iyad Jabrin. ID. 851616763, represented by Atty. Ma'amoun Hashim.

Investigator: Jalal Awida requests 15-day remand extension.

The charge (as reported by his attorney): aiding and abetting wanted men.

Jabrin was arrested on 18.8.09. This is his third remand.

In reply to the standard questions by the attorney, the investigator said,
"There is progress  in the investigation. All angles are examined; we have two
police statements; the suspect was interrogated by the GSS for 18 days.

The attorney asks investigator Omri Awida (replacing Jalal Awida) if he knows
that the suspect is an intelligence officer with the Palestinian Authority. In his summation,
the attorney points up the lengthy investigations and the fact that the suspect denies all
the allegations. He moves to release him on bail.

After examining the secret file the judge orders a 6-day remand, until 14.9.09.

Samer Muhammad Siuri - detained since 6.9.09. He has no defense attorney.

Remand extension for 9 days, until 17.9.09.

Fadi Halil - ID 853999928.  Resident of Sinjil. Arrested on 28.8.09

His attorney did not show up. The police request a 15-day remand extension.

Judge to the detainee: Do you want to address the court?

Detainee: 15 days is a long time.

Here began a debate about the remand, illustrating the meaning of ‘judicial criticism.'

Judge: What is the basis of your 15-day remand request? What is the evidentiary
basis? I can't find in the file the details of the investigations carried out since 3.9.09.

Investigator Omri Awida goes out to fetch the required material and comes back
with reinforcement: the head of the investigations department at the Russian Compound
and several investigators. He requests a hearing behind closed doors.

The judge refuses: The fact that a GSS investigator has entered the court does not
mandate "closed doors". You can submit everything in writing. You always give
me a confidential file anyway, so what's the difference? Let's start: show me
the documents and I'll decide if the case merits "closed doors".

The Deputy-Hhead of the Investigation team for the District of Ramallah comes in
and hands the judge "raw material of the investigation".

The judge examines the file and requests to see the conclusion of the investigation.
Again, investigators come and go, bringing in files and whispering about various
sections in the files.

The judge repeats his request to see what transpired during the investigations
since the last remand. He stresses that a remand extension is designed to substantiate
or refute the original suspicions.
He finds that the recent investigations did not substantiate the initial suspicion,
hence no further incarceration is warranted. The amount of time the detainee
spent in detention should have sufficed to build the case against him.

The judge orders the detainee released on two conditions:

3000-shekel bail to ensure his appearance at any future investigation.

2000-shekel deposited after the investigators allow him to make a phone call to
obtain the money.

The investigator requests a 72-hour delay before the release [to appeal].

Decision: Delay of 48 hours, until Friday at 1 PM.

The suspect will remain in custody until the decision by the Appeals Court.

Ahmad Halil Muhammad Ishawi - ID 850970104

 The investigator states that the investigation is over; the defense attorney has agreed -
by phone - to a 9-day remand extension, during which the case will be handed over
to the Military Prosecution.

In spite of the agreement between the sides the judge states: I have examined the file
and found evidence to support a charge of illegal possession of arms... I wonder why
there was no further investigation, but I will demur. This is within purview of the
investigative team....
The 9 days are required to transfer the file to the prosecution... The argument for
detention is typical of this unit; it is not based on legislation, reflecting the practice
of military courts. The argument for detention is not valid. It is not anchored in the law.
As soon as the  investigation is over, a detainee should be released, unless there is
motion to hold him until the conclusion of the proceedings, in which case a
"prosecution declaration" is called for.
I am not releasing the detainee, because I found evidence in the file for an alleged
security violation. I therefore extend his remand by two days, until 10.9.09.
Further extension will require a "prosecution declaration".

The judge stresses that he has not ignored the agreement between the defense
and the investigator nor the detainee's consent to the extension, but he regards that
agreement as "go with flow" attitude towards remand extensions, a practice of which
he takes a dim view.