Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Danger to Regional Security, Remand Extension

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Roni Hammermann, Tova Szeintuch (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

Russian Compound

Judge: Lieut. Gen. Ami Navon

Police investigator: Yosef Ashmoz

Attorneys: Fahmi Shkirat, Ma'amoun Hashim

Five cases in the docket, one of a detainee barred from seeing his attorney.

The first case was that of the "barred" detainee. We were asked to step out. However, as on earlier occasions, we presented the Supreme Court decision mandating that the hearings be open to the public. The judge examined the document and declared that as far as he was concerned, there was no objection to our presence. He too believes in the transparency of the proceedings. Moreover, he added, at this stage of the hearing, much of the material is confidential anyway. "We have nothing to hide."

Atty. Shkirat represents the "barred" detainee. The police requests 15 day remand extension. The suspect was arrested on 11.8.09. The charge: activity threatening security in the region.

After a series of questions by Atty. Shkirat and answers by the investigator (the "confidential material"), the attorney went out and the detainee was brought in. The judge explained the procedure and the purpose of this hearing: to examine the suspect's innocence, not to punish him. If the charges against him are substantiated, the case will go to the prosecution. If not - he will be released forthwith.

The judge asks the suspect if he knows why he is detained. The suspect says that his family had a dispute with another family in the village, which resulted in the death of three people in his family and four on the other side. So naturally, he is suspected of homicide... I thought the judge was surprised by the answer. He did not dwell on the detainee's "self recrimination" and immediately changed tack. (Remember, the charge is "threatening security in the regions.")

Judge Navon wants to know if the suspect was physically hurt at the time of his arrest. The suspect says, "They took the house apart." The judge still wants to know if there was physical harm. No, says the suspect. They just destroyed the house. The judge asks the detainee (who is from Hebron) if he has anything to add. The suspect asks to inform his family of his whereabouts.

In his decision, the judge orders to inform the detainee's family about his arrest, where he is detained, and that he is barred from seeing an attorney until 18.8.09. His next remand detention is set for 27.8.09. This is important information, says the judge, because it will allow his family in Hebron to make arrangements to visit him. This is a strange statement! It is common knowledge that no Hebron resident can enter Israel, and the Russian Compound is in the heart of Jerusalem.

The remaining 4 cases are apparently related. Atty. Ma'amoun is in charge of three of them. The fourth is privately handled by Atty. Aghbaria, who did not show up to represent his client, and according to the investigator has not answered the many phone calls made to him.

Atty. Aghbaria's client will have to stay in detention for four more days, until Thursday, when it will be decided how to proceed. This suspect has chosen to consult his family as to what to do next - find another defense or stay with Agbaria.

Atty. Ma'amoun Hashim undertook to contact the detainee's family.