Ofer - Plea Bargain, Release on Bail

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Hagit Shlonsky, Hava Halevi

Translation: Marganit W.

Most of the hearings we attended dealt with remand extensions. There were dozens of  "Days Detaineesinfo-icon". This was true also of Courtrooms 1 and 2, presided by judges who don't normally deal with remand extensions (such as Justices Dahan and Zvi Lekach). Perhaps they were drafted because of Tisha B'Av...

As in several other cases we observed lately, we noticed a large number of detainees on trial for offenses committed a long time ago. Some of them have been released on bail for many months. We had the impression that a general cleaning of the cabinets was taking place.

We report on the indictment of 8 young boys whose hearing we reported last time (See report on 13.7.10). They were arrested 20 months ago, and in last week's hearing, they were all released on bail, after the prosecution had withdrawn the allegations.  Attorney Mahmud Hasan from Addameer organization confirmed to us that indeed the prosecution had summoned 3 witnesses - an investigator from Hebron police and two soldiers, and they testified that the boys were involved in rock throwing: on 30.10.08 or thereabout, rock hurling at a moving vehicle with an intent to harm the driver or the passengers. To wit: on the above date, in Al-Arub area, on the crossroads of Route 60 and the driveway to the Al-Arub school, or somewhere nearby, the accused [they all had identical charge sheets] and the others threw rocks from 20 meters away at Israeli cars driving on Route 60, with the intent of harming the cars or their passengers.

So says the indictment. The witnesses, all soldiers of the most moral army in the world, testified before the court, which did not accuse them of lying but did not accept their testimony either.

The trial of Ubai Al Abudi was, again, an "arraignment" hearing. The attorney explained to the court that he was in the process of negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution and that an agreement was likely to result. He told us that the likely punishment would be 20-month probation. If his client is acquitted, fine, but, if he's indicted, the probation will take effect, plus additonal penalty, so it was better not risk it. The agreement requires the consent of the accused and his family, but our impression was that they would consent.

During the other trials we observed, detainees kept coming and going, security guards and attorneys walked in and out, examining  cases, checking lists, exchanging words with the prosecution; women soldiers brought in new files, detainees' families entered and exited, sometimes within 5 minutes; we heard snippets of the interpreter's words, and the clichés the judge dictated to the typist: "I examined, decision, rejection." Most of the time was spent leafing through calendars and setting future hearings - before Ramadan, after Ramadan, during Ramadan.