Ofer - Stone Throwing, Interrogation of Witness

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Amira Katz (visitor), Hagit Shlonsky (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

Courtroom 2
Judge: Major Sharon Rivlin-Ahai
Prosecutor: Lieutenant (?) Oren Lieber, chief prosecutor at Ofer, aided by
Lieutenant Michael Avitan
Defense: Atty. Gaby Lasky, Atty. Nery Ramati

A continuation of the trial of Islam Dar Ayoub - Case No. 1367/11, from Nabi Salah

(See earlier reports of this case from 30.1.11, 10.3.11 and 21.3.11)
Islam was arrested and interrogated on 23.1.11. The main charge against him: throwing rocks.

This mini-trial seeks to determine the admissibility of the defendant's confessions.
In addition to the defendant, who came from home with his father, a group of supporters, both Israeli and foreigners, are present in the court.
The defense has summoned Dr Assya Karmon as expert witness. She has 38 years experience as psychologist and psychiatrist, as director of a Mental Health Clinic for Children and Youth, as well as a consultant in many committees both in Israel and abroad. She has published many articles.

Her professional opinion is presented in writing as part of the main investigation.

In cross-examination, the witness stresses that the written opinion reflects the general principle of the effect of detention and interrogation on testimony by children and youths. She had not met with the defendant prior to writing the report, had not read the police
officers' testimony, nor had she watched the video recording of the interrogation. After writing her testimony and before coming to court, she
read the testimonies and watched part of the recorded interrogation, which takes 5 hours.
In reply to the judge's question, the witness states that the videocassette indicates that there was a tense atmosphere during the interrogation.  She cites examples of an interrogator approaching Islam and touching him ominously and the dismissive reaction of the interrogators who throw a tissue at Islam when he bursts out crying. Dr. Karmon pointed out that an Israeli kid, interrogated by a specialist Juvenile Interrogator would, under similar circumstances, receive sympathy and comfort. 

She further stated that the negative conditions that prevailed in Islam's interrogation (late night, interrogators not skilled in questioning minors, the absence of a relative) are all conducive to the child's collapse. Just one of these conditions would suffice to verwhelm
him, especially since he was wrenched from his normal family surroundings and hurled into a hostile, threatening environment.
The prosecutors wants to know how much weight the expert’s opinion has in the judge's decision. The judge says she will take it into consideration.
The court will soon determine the admissibility of the defendant's confession.
The defense plans to summon an expert witness in international law, as well as the defendant's sister.
The defense will continue on 5.9.11