Ofer - Stone Throwing, Danger to Regional Security

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Reporting: Norah Orlow

Translation: Marganit W.

Case No. 3336/09 - Adeeb Ahmad Hassan Abu Rahma. ID 954902771, resident of Bil'in
, arrested on 10.7.09.

The indictment (after several modifications) includes three charges:

-         ‘Incitement to throw rocks' was changed to ‘sedition'.

-         Disturbance of the peace

-         Violation of an injunction regarding a closed area.

(all charges have to do with the demonstrations against the separation wall, which take place in Bil'in every Friday.

The investigator submitted a motion to detain the suspect until the conclusion of the proceedings. Judge Laufman, however, rejected the motion and ordered Adeeb Abu Rahma released under certain restrictions. The prosecution appealed the decision and at the Military Court of Appeals, Judge Zvi Lekah decided against an ‘alternative to detention'.

The defense requested the court to reconsider Abu Rahma's release, and on 15.9.09 a hearing took place in front of Judge Major Amir Dahan. We attended that hearing [See Ofer report of 15.9.09].

At the end of the session Judge Dahan announced that the decision regarding Adeeb's release on bail would be handed down in two days, i.e., on 17.9.09. Attorneys for the defense (Gaby Lasky and Neri Ramati) checked every few days, but were told that no decision had been issued.

On 6.10.09 another hearing took place in Judge Dahan's court in which the defendant was another Bil'in resident [see report for that date]. Attorney Neri Ramati asked the judge about the decision re Adib Abu Rahma's. The judge was shocked to hear that until that day the attorneys had not been apprised of the decision. He immediately gave the defense the protocol containing his decision to deny the request.

The protocol includes the statement that Adeeb Abu Rahma wished to make on 15.9.09 but was unable to deliver because the session had been interrupted. The judge promised to let him deliver it later. Here is Adeeb's statement in its entirety, as it appeared in the protocol:

Happy Holiday to you [it was Rosh Hashana]. Israelis, Arabs and Jews are cousins. I am 38 years old. In two years I'll be 40. I am married and have 9 children. Two of my daughters are students at the university; the younger kids are in school. I work as a cab driver. I work from early morning to 11 at night. I work for my children, and I am happy about it. I am clean: I was never in jail. They say I am dangerous, but I am not dangerous. I am a human being like you. I need to earn 70-80 shekels a day for my kids, so they'll have food and clothing. I have land on the other side of the fence. My family has a plot of land that the Supreme Court said should go back to my mother, whose name is Rabiha Mustafa Abu Rahma. My whole family has lands over there. The Supreme Court said those lands are legally ours. I work all week and on Friday I go there for half an hour. Why shouldn't I go with others from the village to the demonstrations. Some Israelis go, and small kids, old folks and youngsters. They all go. The demonstration is not violent. I go to demonstrate for maybe 15, 30 minutes. Then I have to drive my cab so my kids will have food. It is the soldiers who hurl things at the people: they throw sewage water. I got wet once, and threw up. We were hit by gas too. I thought the villagers would come to my help... When the soldiers took me away, I said, "I'll go by myself, quietly, no problems," but they threw stun grenades and gas. We stood at the fence for two minutes shouting, "NO to the fence!" and they pelted us with sewage water. If the demonstration is illegal, I don't go, but if it is non-violent, then it is permissible. A year and a half ago they said they'd change the route of the fence and give us back our lands. The village was very happy at the Supreme Court decision. The soldiers don't want us to protest, so they come to our homes and make trouble, because they don't want the demonstrations.

I will report to court whenever I am summoned, every week, if necessary. Thank you very much and Happy Holiday. There's a saying, "fine goods in small parcels." There are small kids who aren't very smart. I could tell the kids to throw stones. But I don't tell anyone to do so. Not all fingers in your hand are the same. People do what they want. I can't incite anybody to do anything.

I don't belong to the popular council; I am just a villager. If 500 people go out to demonstrate, how can I not join them? I have land too. They'll say that I have given up on my land, if I don't demonstrate, so I go to these legal, non-violent demonstrations.

The GSS says I get a salary? What salary? I used to be a plasterer in Israel, now my whole body hurts because of the hard work...

I have been in jail for two and a half months; I can't sleep at night. My whole body hurts.

The protocol then cites the judge's reasons for his decision.

" I heard the respondent's words and they are honest and touching. There's no denying that his situation and the legal circumstances he finds himself in are harsh - but they do not justify resorting to violence."

So much for the good and sensitive judge's reaction to Adib's statement who, after all, did not override the decision by the Appeals Court because he "found no changed circumstances, lapse of time or new facts."

"Like Judge Laufman before me, I think that this is a borderline case, and heavy bail would have sufficed to guarantee the defendant's appearance before the court, to limit him, to neutralize his risk and to lessen the suffering to him and to his family during the trial. But the Court of Appeals... has determined that detention until the conclusion of the proceedings is warranted in this case... [Such a bleeding heart judge!]. Thus, I reject the motion to reconsider the case. The respondent will remain in custody until the conclusion of the proceedings and until another decision is reached.

Next hearings set for 1.11.09 and 15.11.09.

Thus, if the accused is not released, he will get a minimum penalty of four and a half months in jail.