Ofer - Sentence, Interrogation of Witness

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Hagit Shlonsky, Mili Mass (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.


Judge: Major Sharon Rivlin-Ahai

Defense: Atty. Muhammad Mahmoud

Courtroom 2 – juvenile court


Interrogation of prosecution witnesses in the trial of Mahmud Halil Abed Al-Hanafsa,

ID 853809010 -  case No. 4075/10, 16 year old from Abu Dis.

The defendant’s father and his sister are present in court.

We were unable to hear the charge, but apparently it involves throwing Molotov cocktails  (indictment category: throwing objects). The two witnesses, Sufian and Mustafa are also from Abu Dis and are about the same age as the defendant. They categorically deny what the prosecutor claims they said in their interrogation, i.e., that they saw the defendant commit the offence. They each claim they do not know the defendant. Sufian, wearing prisoner’s uniform, having been brought here from jail, testifies that he was beaten by the interrogator, and that he was promised release if he signed the police report. He stood his ground vis-à-vis the prosecutor who ignored his repeated denials and bombarded him with questions. He insists that the statements ascribed to him were all dictated by the interrogator.

In cross-examination of the witness, the defense, Atty. Mahmoud, establishes that the interrogation took place at 3 AM, that the witness was not read his rights, and that he was not told he could consult a lawyer.

The second witness, Mustafa, denies knowing the defendant or having seen him carry out the violation. He says he has no friends, except his cousin Ziyad, hence he has no knowledge of the defendant. The police interrogator did not tell him why he was summoned and instructed him to sign a document, or else he would be beaten.

In cross-examination, Mustafa states that no family member was present at the interrogation, nor an interpreter, and he was not read his rights.

Two dates were set for a continuation of the trial: 14.2.11 and 21.2.11, when the interrogators will testify.


What ensued was an assembly line of boys and attorneys for arraignment and memorandum hearings. Dates were set for 14.2.11 and 21.2.11 and for March. Most charges involved throwing objects.

Among them was a 14 year old from Bethlehem who had been in jail for a month.

Muhammad Raed Muhammad Farukh, ID 401454558 – Case No. 1038/11

His father was in court. He was represented by Atty. Muhammad Shaheen.

Then we heard the sentencing of a young man, released on bail, accused of committing an  indecent act two years ago. The court accepted a plea bargain and sentenced the defendant to 4 months jail, coinciding with his detention, plus 5 months suspended sentence, starting today, for two years, plus 1800 shekel fine to be deducted from money he deposited as bail.

The reason for mitigation was that the defendant has no prior convictions and has not violated the law since then, leading his attorney to argue that it was not typical behavior for him. The defendant has since gotten married and fathered children.


After the lunch break Hadil Talal Issa Abu Turki - case No. 4953/10, was brought in.

She is 15.5 years old. She tried to stab a soldier at Qalandiya Checkpoint. She had tried doing so in the past, when she was 13. She is represented by Atty. Iyad Misk.

Hadil was arrested on 14.11.10 and in three days will complete 60 days in detention.

There was general consensus that the motive for her act was her desire to run away from a match her family planned for her, not for security reasons.

After consulting a regional welfare officer, a plea bargain was struck and a sentence of one year in jail was handed down. However, out of this year, she will spend only 60 days in jail and will be released in three days, on 27.1.11. The rest of the time will be suspended sentence for 5 years. The suspension includes wielding a knife or causing any danger to human life.

With Hadil’s father’s consent, the welfare officer will arrange Hadil’s transfer to a Home for Girls in Hebron.