Ofer - Stone Throwing, Shooting

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Norah Orlow, Hava Halevi (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

Continued coverage of the trial of Amir Ibrahim Haled Sabarna  (ID 852783190 - Case 5001/11. Resident of Beit Ummar.

Judge: Major Meir Visiger
Military Prosecutor: Lieutenant Avishai Kaplan
The interpreter was busy playing with one of those new electronic gadgets and often forgot to translate.
As for the typist: I suggest she works on improving her Hebrew spelling.
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati.

The report on Amir Sabarna's trial could have been one of those boring reports where the facts are rehashed ad infinitum: who was up and who was down, what did you see before you had a drink and which way were you looking before you turned etc. etc. But in this case someone has overstepped the bound and the trial has broadened and mushroomed; all this because in Sabarna's case a soldier shot him in the shoulder, and this cannot be glossed over or shoved under the rug. A judge cannot ignore blood, hospital and medical records, and declare, "Case closed."

Norah Orlow reported on this case on 12.12.11and 19.12.11.
Amir is accused of throwing rocks, assaulting a soldier, resisting arrest, and rampaging - but after all this violence, he was the one shot and injured. In an earlier session, having sat for hours in the court at Ofer, he coughed, spat blood, collapsed and required medical attention.
His parents told us that two of Amir's brothers are also in detention, one of them (Rami Sabarna) sat with him in the dock. The other brother is incarcerated at Etzion Facility. Why were they arrested? The readers can hazard a guess. A correct answer will garner a prize.
Atty. Nery Ramati examined the shooting soldier and the officer who later took the statement. The quest for truth in these cases is a complicated endeavor: first a questioning officer, then an interrogator and then an investigator who takes the detainee's statement - this thrice-kneaded dough will then be baked into a bread.
The officer who took the statement is Itay Vazana. He has a law degree, but Atty. Ramati made mincemeat out of him in court. He means to disqualify his testimony because the officer does not tell the truth. This entire process was aided by an audio recording of the interrogation. Atty. Ramati, the judge, the prosecutor and the interpreter  (who translated every word into Hebrew) and even Sabarna himself, were all listening to the recording. A tense silence prevailed in the court, while everyone tried to listen and follow: it is not every day that the defense undermines a policeman's testimony using the latter's own recorded words.
So I thought to myself: true, we have an occupation here, but not a dictatorship.
Interrogations are recorded, nothing is hidden, the defense receives the relevant material, and in the court, both sides, the judge, the defendant and his family, together with us and 10 ‘Psychoactive’ representatives can watch and listen.
What is to become of Amir Sabarna? We don't know yet. The trial is to resume on 15.1.12. We'll see what the recordings, democracy and enlightenment will yield, and more importantly, whom will the judge believe?

Ashraf Ibrahim Ahmad Dar Abu Rahmah - ID 906435698 - Case 5012/11,
resident of Bil'in.
Judge: Major Meir Visiger
Prosecutor: Lieut. Eugenia Agranash
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati

The defendant has become famous all over the world because a soldier, Leonardo Corea, by order of Brigade commander Omri Burberg,  shot him while he was bound and blindfolded;  also because his brother, Bassem Abu Rahmah, aka "El Phil" was murdered in April 2009 by a soldier who pelted him with a teargas canister at close range during a protest at Bil'in. His sister, Jawahar Abu Rahmah  choked to death from teargas during a demonstration in Bil'in in December 2010.
At the center of the defense interrogation was the question: was Ashraf arrested for participating in a protest, or was it retaliation for the prosecution of two soldiers (following the incident where the defendant was shot in the foot). The battalion commander Omri Burberg was convicted and his promotion was delayed by two years.
Two witness testified today: The present commander of the Northern region,
Lieut.-Col. Roman Kaufman (with a leg injury, a limp and a cane – reason unkown) and Sgt. Tom Hai Tsausho.
The defense presented a video on his computer, showing the demonstration when Abu Rahmah was arrested. He confronted Kaufman with erroneous
statements made during the interrogation. Asked if he is aware of the defendant's record of resistance to the occupation, Kaufman says he is: he has seen a picture of the protest in the paper. Atty. Ramati asks, "You saw the defendant during the demonstration, you saw what he did and yet you did not arrest him until the end, when the protest was over and Abu Rahmaeh was running after the jeep with a flag." The commander replied, "There are two possibilities, either I did not see him, or I was walking and not riding in the jeep." He also said, "Maybe I was wrong."
The sergeant testified that he was operating a contraption called Alpha, which lobes gas grenades. He knows about the incident involving the shooting of Abu Rahmah, because after the soldier was arrested he spent a few hours with the detainee, who told him about the incident.
Here too, the defense used interrogation records stored in his computer. Personally, I regard all this as window-dressing , as an attempt to camouflage the
iniquities of the military courts. Apparently, the system realizes that states are judged by their human rights record, so a certain pretence of fair trial has to be maintained.
The tragedy of the Abu Rahmah family deserves broader coverage. This report cannot do justice to it.
Evidentiary hearing will take place on 15.1.12 at 13:00. Another witness for the prosecution will testify, as well as the defendant, and a few defense witnesses.
The rest of the defense witnesses will testify on 18.1.12.