Ofer - Release on Bail, Interrogation of Witness

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Hava Halevi, Hagit Shlonsky (reporting)

Translation: Marganit W.

There was sparse activity in the court today, perhaps because of Purim, perhaps because Bitunya Checkpoint, where most families go through to get here, was closed for a long period.

We were admitted without a hitch. There were no families in the waiting shack, except for the father of Hana Shalabi, the administrative detention prisoner who has been on hunger strike for 21 days. The father, too, is on hunger strike, and was waiting for his daughter’s appeal, which was to take place behind closed doors before noon.

Most of the other courtrooms were locked.

Courtroom 7 operated as traffic court.

Atty. Nery Ramati, defended Islam Dar Ayoub (the minor from Nabi Saleh) before Justice Sharon Rivlin-Ahai.

Today, prosecution witness Muatasem Ali Mansour testified before the court. He is 16,5 years old, also from Nabi Saleh: they were both arrested at night and forced to incriminate many villagers from Nabi Saleh.

In reply to questions – both by the prosecutor and then by the defense in cross-examination – Muatasem kept saying: “I don’t remember”. He consistently denied all the statements read from his interrogation, explaining that the interrogator had shouted at him and intimidated him.

Two hearings were set for testimonies: 15.4.12 at 13:00 and 29.4.12.


Courtroom 4

Judge: Major Etty Adar

The prosecution was represented by two officers: Major Nathaniel Kola and Captain Ashhar Erez. This reinforced team explains what we found out later: the defendant is one of several people arrested on suspicion of trying to sabotage the electric system of the security fence. The suspects tried to break through the fence in order to steal copper cables from the electric installation, melt them down and then sell the metal.

Defendant: Mahmoud Kamal Mahmoud Tabanga,ID852244425 - Case 1312/12

Defense: Atty. Ahmad Saffiya

Mahmoud Tabanga, age 20, from Katana village, was a vegetables seller  before his arrest. He is the oldest of 12 children and the sole provider of his family. His father is paralyzed. The mother was present in court. He was arrested two months ago and accepted the charges during his interrogation. The court released him on bail, but he remained in custody because he could not afford to pay the bail.

Based on his admission, Mahmoud was convicted of sabotaging an army installation and attempting to disrupt public order. During the debate over the sentence the two sides wrangled heatedly, citing precedents to advance their arguments. The defendant told the court that he did not commit any act related to cutting the fence, he did not possess any implement that could assist in the violation, nor did he have a vehicle for transportation. His only participation was his presence during the commission of the violation.

Sentence will be handed down on 14.3.12 at 9:20 AM