Ofer - Release on Bail, Minors

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Observers: Hava Halevi, Hagit Shlonsky (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

Courtroom 7

Until lunch break all the hearings involved “bail check”.

Defendants are brought into the room with their feet shackled: they have been released on bail, but cannot post the steep sums imposed by the court as a condition for their release. Some have come before this court before to plead for a lower bail. In the meantime, until the court accedes, they continue to be in detention. The hearing often sounds like haggling in the market. The defense asks the court to consider his client’s destitute circumstances, sometimes arguing that the light violation does not mandate depositing such big a sum.

The prosecutor reminds the court of the “risk to security,” reiterating it like a mantra. After a long negotiation he says, “OK, I’ll make it 2500 shekels for you….”

At this stage of the proceeding, there is no mention of the charges, but the violations cannot be very serious, or the suspects would not be released until the trial.

From the exchange between the defense and the prosecution we gather that there are several options in the bail market. For example: you can post bail at the police at the time of arrest. But there the sum is higher. The accused will pay less if he is tried in court. We also learn that the court uses a “balance formula” which in difficult cases helps decide whether to release the suspect or detain him until the conclusion of the proceedings. The formula takes into consideration the special circumstances of the case. If I understand correctly, the balance is between leniency – release from detention – and severity –depositing a large (really exorbitant,) sum as bail. The sides can appeal the decision, and if the appellate court takes on the case, the case will then go back to the earlier court and the two sides will go on bargaining. In the meantime the suspect will stay in detention.

The “bail check” session we witnessed today showed another aspect of the workings of the military courts, which are pressed for time and are overloaded with cases, all in the service of a system that upholds and maintains the occupation.

Judge: Lieut.-Col. Shmuel Kedar

Prosecutor: Major Natanel Kula

Defendant:Jahad Rateb Halil Haroub, ID 852949775– Case 1301/12

Defense: Atty Munzer Abu Ahmed

The 5000 shekel bail was set at the hearing of the first detention, a week ago, when the judge decided to release the suspect even though the alleged charge was serious (intent to stab a soldier if called upon to do so). The defense asks for a reduced sum, explaining that for a resident of the Occupied Territories this is a very steep sum. His client is not on speaking terms with his family and has no one to help him. The judge urges the sides to resolve the case so that the defendant’s “continued detention won’t damage his defense and he won’t be in jail for longer than the allotted time, if he is convicted.”

Hearing for another ‘bail check’ set for 12.2.12


Ahmad Ibrahim Mussa Iyad,ID 853770154– Case 1192/12

The court that released him on bail in a previous hearing set a 7500 shekel bail. A month has gone by and he is still in detention.

Atty. Nasser Nubani (replacing Atty. Muhamad Shadfan today) claims that the defendant was arrested for staying illegally in Israel trying to find work, and this is not a security violation; according to the Supreme Court decisions this is not considered a serious violation. Ahmad Iyad is the sole provider for his family. He was merely looking for work in Israel. When he’s in jail his family has no income. The defendant’s father was not present today because he has no money for transportation and he cannot help his son defray the bail.

The judge in uncharacteristic display of leniency reduces the bail to 2500 shekels.

Further ‘bail check’ will take place on 14.2.12


Jarib Amjad Alkuazba, ID402730667 – Case 1361/12

A 14 year old kid who has already been in detention for 8 days.

He suffers from thyroid condition and needs daily medication, which he is not getting even though the necessary forms have been submitted to the court. This is his third appearance in court (which is not a juvenile court where Palestinian minors are brought at a later stage of the judicial process).

The boy sits between two adult detaineesinfo-icon, looking like a lost child. When he was first brought before Justice Kedar on 31.1.12, the judge decided to release him because of his young age and his sickly appearance. The prosecution appealed and the Appellate Court accepted the motion. The case was returned to the first court and Justice Lieut.-Col. Hanan Rubinstein ordered a house arrest at the boy’s parents, and for good  measure a bail of 7500 shekels. This time the prosecution did not appeal the decision, but the kid’s family could not obtain the required sum. Atty. Nubani asks the court to reduce the sum and the judge accedes, setting the bail at 2500. The other conditions set by Justice Rubinstein are maintained.

Further ‘bail check’ hearing is set for 12.2.12

Until now) I have not been able to find out if the boy has been released to his home.

DCI (Defense Children International) does not intervene in cases where the minor has a private attorney. I was unable to contact Atty. Shadfan or Physicians for Human Rights.

I will try again.