Salem - Sentence

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Ziona Orr (guest: Akiva O.), Yehudit Harmat (reporting)

Translation: Diana Rubanenko

Judge: Achsan Halabi

Defense: Attorney Iyad Machamid

Prosecutor: Maya Hadar

Defendant: Faiz Maher Zacharna, ID 910754423

The defendant was returned to jail following seventeen months at liberty after an appeal by the court regarding the lightness of his sentence. The accused served a fifteen-month sentence in Megiddo Jail. On 28.2.09 he was acquitted and released. According to the prosecutor, the sentence was too lenient, and so the prosecution appealed. Release and acquittal were erroneous.

According to the original indictment, he and his friends planted an explosive charge. The prosecution argued that the charge weighed 35 kg, while the defense maintained that it weighed only 9 kg. (The prosecution cites the case of the Palestinian Finance Minister who was returned to jail after having served his sentence).

The Judge repeats that this is an exceptional case.

The father of the defendant took the witness stand and related that after his son was released, the whole family was astounded when he was jailed again - he was in training to become fireman in the Palestinian Authority, had become engaged, and his wedding was set for 15.8.09. He was living a normal life and did not present any danger to security in the region. Therefore, the father hopes, that court will release his son so he could resume his normal life.

The defense's  arguments were particularly long:  a summary of the main points follows:

After his release, the defendant underwent a period of rehabilitation. He had learned his lesson during his jail sentence, and did not get involved in anything liable to damage security in the region.

In the original indictment, it was not stated that the accused was involved in planning [of planting the bomb], nor was it stated how he had become involved with the action. Although he was in the picture, his part was minimal compared to the part of the others in carrying out the offence. For the defendatn, it was the only event of his getting involved with laying an explosive charge. No damage was caused by the charge. The accused should be allowed to rehabilitate his life; he should receive a fine, and then would be able to return to his natural and normal way of life.

The court recessed, and sentencing would be given afterwards.

The sentence:

  • 1. 24 months incarceration. The period of his detention - from 9.12.06 until 28.2.08 - would be deducted. The remainder would begin on 15.7.09, the last day of his detention.
  • 2. A suspended sentence of 24 months, for a period of four years from the date of his release from jail, so that he would not commit any offence of the type for which he was sentenced.

(We note that the Minutes of the proceedings are written in Hebrew. The court does not provide a translation to Arabic, which would enable the defendants and their families to read and understand it).