Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Shooting, Remand Extension

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Hagit Shlonsky, Hava Halevi (reporting)

Translation: Diana Rubanenko

Russian Compound

Judge: Shalom Dahan

Police Investigator: Radi Khatib

Now and then, Investigator Nissim Argaman was present in court.

The judge and the police investigator are old friends because apparently they both appear a lot together at the Ashkelon Detention Centre.

As in previous weeks, today too we were not allowed to stay in the court during the discussion for extending the remand of a detainee who was barred from meeting an attorney. Today we encountered difficulty in finding out the ID numbers and further details about the detaineesinfo-icon. Unlike previous times, the attorneys evaded answering our questions.

1. Ahmed Odeh. Resident of Bethlehem.

Has been detained since 14.7.10 at Beersheba prison, where he was barred from meeting his attorney. 8 days ago he was transferred to the Russian Compound. He suffers from asthma. Attorney Fahmi Shkirat represents him, and met him for the first time today.

The charge: suspected of activity against security in the region.

Regarding the asthma - the judge asked the attorney: do we have documents proving that he suffers from asthma?

I (Hava H.) answer in his stead: Yes of course, when they came at night to arrest him he should have told the soldiers, wait a minute I must take my medicine and medical papers.

In any event, the judge said, the health of the detainee is the responsibility of the prison service.

Attorney Shkirat agreed on behalf of the detainee to a remand extension of five days. The detainee was given permission to talk and he asked to be moved as soon as possible to Ofer. Conditions in the Russian Compound are apparently very bad.

Decision: remand is extended until 1.8.10.

2. Kamal Rais Hamed, aged 40, was arrested on 5.7.10 near the Cave of Machpela in Hebron, on suspicion of activity against security in the region. There is an agreement between Attorney Shkirat and the prosecution to extend remand until 5.8.10.

3. A detainee whose name we don't know; arrested on 22.7.10 and barred from meeting a lawyer

In the absence of the detainee, the usual dialogue [between the lawyer and the police investigator] was conducted:

- What is the charge?

- Membership in a hostile organisation

- Which organisation?

- Hamas.

- Military or civilian activity?

- Military activity.

- Did he link himself to the charges?

- Partially, yes.

- Was any combat materiel seized?

- No.

- Are other people involved in the case?

- I cannot provide details.

When the time came to bring in the detainee, we were asked to leave. We showed the judge the preliminary injunction of the High Court of Justice, recommending that we remain for the hearing. It didn't help, he read the document we gave him but he said it explicitly notes that our presence would not be permitted if the entities in the investigation object to it. (it also says, of course, that the judge is entitled to take into account the position of the investigation entities, but the final decision remains his. The document also stated that the court can order the proceedings to be held "in camerainfo-icon", a procedure that supersedes the instruction given us to leave the court. The judge, Shalom Dahan, like most judges who we've seen over the years in remand extensions, leaves the court management to the investigating entities, represented by the police investigator): "I don't intervene, it's their business".

4. Muhammad Mahmoud Algur, age 19.5, arrested on 14.7.10 and is being interrogated for 'activity against security in the region'.

It is his third remand extension.

Attorney: Fahmi Shkirat

The investigator asked for a remand extension of 8 days for the purposes of the investigation. Again, the whole rigmarole:

- Did you perform all investigative activities required to extend the previous remand?

- Most of them.

- Are there discrepancies between the two versions that he gave during the    investigation? 

- Yes in the second version he admitted, and elaborated his involvement in the activities attributed to him.

 - When were the offences committed? Are there specific dates?

And now things became interesting because the detainee, who this morning had met his attorney for the first time, told him that the actions for which he was interrogated took place four and a half years ago. Eighteen months ago he had committed an offence (we were not told which one), but it had nothing to do with the security of the region. The young man had undergone two polygraph tests during his detention and had not admitted anything.

After a discussion between the police investigator, the attorney and the judge the decision was given:

5 days remand extension.

5. Shadi Ahmed Muzaham; Arrested on 10.7.10. This is his fifth remand extension. The investigator requests a further extension of 12 days. The suspect is somehow connected to a shooting incident, and to other people. The investigator could, of course, not answer any question for reasons connected to the good of the investigation, but the attorney insisted and asked whether other people were connected to the incident and why they had been released. The investigator absolutely denied the whole matter.

At this point Attorney Ma'amoun Hashim intervened. So far, he had been sitting on the bench, joking with the security guards. Now he said: yes it's true. I represented one of the suspects in the affair, and he was released on bail.

After this there were some more of the usual references to the confidential report and the investigator who never knows anything. The attorney summed up: "The suspect denies any connection to the incident. I'm asking for his release or alternatively, to transfer the file on to the [Military] prosecution".

Decision: remand extension of 8 days.

6, Attorney Anwar Abu Lafi, represents Mahmoud Duani and managed to get permission to bring in his relatives, his wife and father. The accused, an accountant aged 41, is a resident of A-Tur, a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. He speaks fluent Hebrew. He has six children and two grandchildren. He was arrested on 12.7.10 in the early morning, in his home. Since his arrest he has been interrogated daily from 6 am until 2 am the following day, with short pauses of 15 minutes. He is interrogated while fettered, and hunched over.

His interrogation centres on his ties with some guy (Ziad?). He repeats again and again, that he has no connection to this person.

It transpires that in 2004 he was detained and investigated then too for the same connection. It ended with his release. Douani says that that arrest was a warning signal for him, and since then he has avoided making any contact with that person or other persons (Ziad?).

The judge was mainly impressed by the conditions of the interrogation (20 hours a day). He examined the file and counted the hours of the interogation listed there, and the periods of rest noted. The judge noted that the file reports only half the time of the interrogation the detainee pointed out.

The attorney tries to explain the discrepancy: the detainee has no watch and cannot be accurate. The detainee corrects the attorney, and tells him (in Hebrew) that he indeed has no watch, but he sees the watch on the interrogator's wrist, and the records kept in the file are not true, "They simply don't write the truth".

Truth or not, in the judge's opinion the interrogation program must be performed in full, according to what is written in the confidential file.

The remand was extended by 8 days, to the following Thursday, 5.8.10.