Ofer - Women, Conspiracy to Kill

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Hagit Shlonsky, Amira Katz

Translation: Diana Rubanenko

Courtroom 3: Appeals

Judge: Zvi Lekach

Prosecutor: Shlomi Schneider

The morning session opened with an appeal against the detention of Abed el Aziz Haled (2543/09).

We were somewhat late because of the excessive attention from the bored young women at the entrance to the court, tasked with checking our bodies and bags (they even went in search of their commanding officer to ask him if a phone-card in a wallet may or may not be brought into court. The officer's answer was - prohibited).

The indictment attributes to Abed El Haled activity in a terror organization. The defense emphasized that the activity of which he is accused was not military activity and that he has no past record of involvement in security-related activity. The judge examined El Haled's file: "...in January this year he called to prayer in the mosque". The judge also notes while examining the file: "admitted in an interrogation that during what he calls  ‘the war in Gaza', he took part in processions...".

The decision will be given by the judge later.

At 11:00, the defendant Suad Arzikat was brought into the courtroom, and her father and uncle were allowed to enter. The appeal filed by the prosecution lasted 2 hours and referred to the sentence handed down on 7.4.09.

Suad was detained on 8.4.08. An indictment was served for the offence of planning to perform a suicide attack. The evidentiary hearing took place a year later, on 31.3.09 (see Machsom Watch site: summary report of the trial until sentencing on 15.6.09), and ultimately Suad was found guilty of contact with the enemy and an attempt to incite a person to keep an explosive device. She was acquitted by benefit of doubt of the more serious offence - of conspiring to cause intentional manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment (and a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment, plus a NIS 3000 fine).

She has already served her sentence, but the prosecution asked to defer her release until the appeal court hears the appeal and hands down a ruling.

The representative of the prosecution began with a detailed and arcane account of the incidents that led to Suad Erzikat's detention, and to the filing of the indictment against her. The prosecution objects to her acquittal of the serious charge of conspiring to cause intentional manslaughter, giving as ground for the objections to the arguments presented during the trial: Suad admitted that she had contact with a Jihad activist from Gaza; during her investigation by the police and her testimony in court, she did not explain that what she wrote in an online chat to the activist from Gaza was not meant seriously but were mere words; the prosecution placed the strongest emphasis on the "the mental foundation of criminal intent" in Suad's behaviour. The prosecuting attorney rejected one of the court's grounds for granting a partial acquittal: that the contents of the chat and the correspondence found on the computer were not presented as evidence to the court. The prosecutor replied that the it was the defense who should have included this material as evidence to contradict the prosecution's claims.

The defense focused chiefly on the argument that all the alleged contacts with a Jihad activist via the internet were not serious, and were done openly as a form of entertainment in the family's living room. And what Suad said - by means of her brother - in an anonymous chat, was said without commitment, nonchalantly, as wishful thinking, and not as an intentional plan. The defense attorney reiterated the argument that no evidence had been produced that the person with whom the brother and sister spoke was in fact a Jihad activist from Gaza.

The judge requested argumentation for sentencing from the parties.

A decision will be given within the next few days.

We will follow up.