Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Stone Throwing, Danger to Regional Security

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Roni Hammermann, Tova Szeintuch (reporting)

Translation: Diana Rubanenko

Russian Compound

Judge: Shlomi Friedman

Police investigator: Wafi Kabalan (representing the police in the first case heard today - a criminal case)

The attorneys: Fahmi Shkirat, Ma'amoun Hashim

5 cases - one criminal; 2 concerning barred [from meeting with their attorney] detaineesinfo-icon; and 2 of 17-year old minors.

The judge arrives at 10:45, and the proceedings begin only then.

The first case concerns a barred detainee, represented by Fahmi Shkirat.

The police request fifteen more days of remand in custody for investigation purposes.

Suspicions: military activity and other related matters, chiefly military activity.

Att. Shkirat asks: Is the military activity a general or specific suspicion?

Reply: In principle it's a specific incident.

The routine questions are asked, and the routine answers given.

"It's all in the confidential report".

At this point, the judge asks us to leave because the ‘barred' detainee is about to enter. He reminds us that in the past he has requested us to leave at this stage of the proceedings. We present Judge Friedman with the pre-Supreme Court document stating that for the sake of the principle of public hearings, the recommendation is to allow us to attend hearings about barred detainees.

Att. Jallal Avida, the police investigator, intervenes now and informs the judge that in view of the Supreme Court ruling, it was decided to let us attend the entire proceedings, to ensure principle of public hearings.

The judge requested that it be noted in the court minutes that MachsomWatch women were present.

Judge Friedman explains to the detainee what will take place in the hearing with his attorney, and asks whether he has anything to say.

The detainee says: I have already told everything I know.

The judge disregards this, and continues describing the proceedings with the attorney.

The judge's decision:

After studying the confidential material I found that the suspicions attributed to the suspect are reasonable. I also found that progress has been made in the investigation since the previous hearing. I am satisfied that there is a logical and reasonable investigation that justifies his remaining in custody, and I therefore order a further fifteen days.

The second case also concerns a person prohibited from meeting with his attorney until October 2009. The suspect was arrested on 3.9.09.

The defence attorney is Fahmi Shkirat.

The detainee is suspected of activity supporting terror and against the security of the region. He says his client has no connection with the suspicions.

Att. Shkirat asks questions, and in most instances the investigator refers him to the confidential report.

The investigator sums up: "These are very grave suspicions. We are aware of the fact that the severity of the suspicions does not constitute grounds for detention, but this is a suspect who is endangering the public security, so there are grounds for detention".

The suspect is brought in as the defence attorney leaves. Judge Friedman explains to him what happened in the previous part of the hearing, and asks if he has anything to say.

The detainee (around 50) asks why 22 days, and requests leniency.

The judge replies: there is no leniency here.

Judge Friedman's decision:

The suspect was detained on 3.9.09 and has been prohibited from meeting an attorney ever since.

The judge: The investigator presented me with the interrogation material, which contains confidential information - from which very, very, very serious suspicions arise, that the suspect committed grave offences.

I found that there are reasonable suspicions attributed to the suspect.

The judge's ruling: After I thoroughly examined the interrogation material, my impression is that there is no other choice but to accede to the police request in full, in order to complete the planned investigation; I instruct remand in custody until 28.9.09.

The third and fourth cases concern two 17 year-old youths, defined by Judge Friedman as minors. They are both from Batir near Bethlehem, and were arrested on 3.9.09.

The suspicions: stone-throwing and disturbing the peace.

In both cases, the police are requesting 18 days.

Attorney Ma'amoun Hashim is representing them.

The attorney asks if the minors belong to any organization: no.

Have the suspects given a statement to the police?: yes.

The attorney sums up that the offence is a relatively slight one - throwing stones - and also that they have given their version of events to the police. The detention period should be reduced.

Judge Friedman takes issue with the forgiving attitude to such a grave offence, which is life-endangering: a stone that hits someone causes more injury than a bullet that misses the mark. He asks the youth: Is it such fun throwing stones?

He sums up:  From the interrogation material presented to me I found that reasonable suspicions are attributed to the suspect.  (The two decisions regarding both cases are very similar). On the other hand, due to the suspects' young age, I do not find it appropriate to accept in full the request by the police. I order an extension of remand of custody of 8 days.