Ofer - Release on Bail, Stone Throwing

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Hava Halevi, Mili Mass, Avital Toch (joint report)

Translation: Marganit W.

We came to observe a trial, which did not take place that day.
Only two courts were operating. Most hearings were remand extensions, but no dockets were posted on the doors. There is no device for posting the dockets and the list of hearings is three days old.

Courtroom 5
Judge: Lieut. Avshalom Meushar

The small courtroom is filled with the usual din of lawyers, prosecutor, judge, detaineesinfo-icon and family members talking to each other. The judge dictates to the typist, rephrasing statements by prosecutor and defense.
And above it all, the interpreter's voice, like a muezzin, fills the air.

Diaa Alsheikh - Case No. 2292/11, ID 410835581
Defense: Atty. Muhammad Jabarin
Diaa Alsheik, from the village of Bidu, is accused of trading in combat materiel. He was arrested in May 2011 for agreeing to supply a gun to people who had approached him. The testimonies were taken in December 2009 and were based on a conversation that had taken place in 2007.

In 2010 Diaa Alsheik was arrested for throwing rocks. In January 2011 he was
convicted and was in jail until 10.3.11.
The attorney raised some crucial questions. The testimony was taken in 2009.

A year later Diaa was in an Israeli jail. Why was he not interrogated?
Why was he interrogated two years after testifying about an event that had taken place two years before his deposition?
No police line-up was arranged, and it is not clear that the name mentioned in the interrogations is actually his.
It is not at all clear that he agreed to provide a gun when asked to do so.
The prosecutor responds that an indictment could not be submitted without
further evidence.
The judge concludes that detention is not warranted. He explains the reasons, adding a significant fact: Witness No. 8 stated that after the conversation with Diaa, the subject was dropped because they thought that Diaa was connected to the PA and might inform on them.
The judge sums up: "From this testimony I deduce that his denial of the attempt to purchase an M16 may be substantiated. The testimony was given on 20.12.09 whereas the defendant was convicted and sentenced on 8.1.11.
There is a fundamental flaw in the process, and there is no reasonable explanation why the prosecution did not use interrogation records it had in its possession since December 2009.
The judge adds that Witness No. 5 failed to link the defendant to the purchase of the M16, and that the attempt to obtain the gun happened 2 years before the December 2009 testimony. "These circumstances point to insufficient evidence. The prosecution mentions rock throwing, but the incident does not appear in the indictment."
Diaa was released under the following conditions:
1000 shekel deposit - third party guarantee of 10,000 shekels – reporting to the police once a week.
However, the temporarily released detainee is from Bidu, a village in the Ramallah district, which is separated from its surroundings by a separation fence or wall. In order to report to the police he has to obtain special permit to cross the checkpoint.
The judge struck down the need to report to the police.

Judge: Eran Laufman
Defense: Atty. Munzer Abu Ahmed
Category: remand extension

The accused, Abed Alkader Shaur, about 50 years old, is a spare parts for cars
dealer. He is dressed in civilian clothes and wears a Palestinian worker's cap. He is an odd-man-out among the youngsters who usually sit in the dock.

This story has many of the typical elements of the military courts and the occupation.
During the trial I spoke to a policeman from Lahav 433 unit, whose job is to apply "effective and swift enforcement; a professional and sophisticated response to organized crime and to  fight against public corruption." The policeman told me that Mr. Shaur is suspected of dealing in stolen spare parts and possession of stolen goods. On 9.6.11 he was caught on Allenby Bridge with about 500 car and engine parts, which he planned to sell in Jordan.
So what's wrong?
The policeman explained that the Oslo Agreements state that the PA is barred from importing spare parts. Palestinians can import new cars but not parts; so if Mr.Shaur has in his possession vehicular spare parts, they must be stolen - from Israel - and on their way to "chop shops".
The attorney later explained that the Oslo Agreements also contain other clauses governing spare parts, but they are not relevant to our case. What matters is the police claim.
Later, Atty. Abu Ahmed told me that only 28 engines found in Mr Shaur's possession are suspect. The prosecutor, who was in civilian garb, also belongs to Unit Lahav 433. She requested remand extension of 18 days to complete the investigation. Towards the end of the hearing however, amid the haggling over the length of the remand, a new charge appeared: The judge read in the documents that the defendant is a resident of Hebron - it says so on his ID card. The attorney insisted that his client is from Shuafat. Hebron, said the judge. Shuafat, said the attorney.
"So you're saying that he is an illegal sojourner? " asked the policeman, who had joined his colleague, the prosecutor.
It turns out that Mr. Shaur has two wives, one in Hebron, one in Shuafat. Most of the time he resides with his second wife, but the Civil Administrationinfo-icon registered him in Hebron. Thus, he must be a resident of Hebron. Whenever he stays with his second wife, he is automatically in violation of the residence law, even though Shuafat is a borderline case: it belongs to Jerusalem municipal jurisdiction but receives services from the PA.
A veritable mess.
The judge's decision: There are grounds for remand extension, but since the report is confidential, the judge did not specify the length of the interrogations. They can also be conducted simultaneously. Shaur is to be detained for only 11 days, until 17.7.11 at 17:00.

Judge: Avshalom Meushar
Defense: Madhat Hamamra
Defendants: Saad Ahmed Ibrahim Alzaoul, 17.5 years old and Ayoub Ahmed
Ibrahim Alzaoul, 14
. They are brothers from the village Hussan. The older brother is very short and even though he has an incipient beard, looks stunted (due to poor living conditions?)
The parents were present in court. The father told Hava that 40 boys from Hussan had been incriminated and charged with throwing rocks.
Charge: throwing objects with the intent to hurt, and throwing rocks on a road "during the month of August or thereabout, in Hussan or thereabout" (exact quote from the indictment).
The attorney requests a postponement until next Tuesday in order to Xerox the investigation material and prepare for the hearing. Apparently such an indictment [without mention of date or place where the alleged crime was committed] is admissible in this court. Is such an indictment admissible in an court inside Israel as well??