Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing

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Hava Halevi, Hagit Shlonsky


Translation: Marganit W.


Courtroom 1
Judge: Major Amir Dahan

Hava Halevi's report

Courtroom 1 was almost empty, only the judge and the typist were present.
When I inquired, the judge explained that he had no sessions scheduled for this morning. In the meantime he dictated decisions to earlier trials.
-What is the topic?
-Petitions to return seized property.
Apparently, there is such a thing. The military court deals with demands by Palestinians to return property seized abased on Clause 84 of the Emergency Defense Regulations:
Clause D. By edict of the Minister of Finance, any person or police officer, may enter a premise that they have reason to believe contains property or account or money deposit, as specified in Clause A. They are licensed to search any such property or certificate and seize them until further instruction from the Finance ministry.
In our publication "Guilty" we deal extensively with the Emergency Defense Regulations, and with Clause 84 in particular, but we did not pay sufficient attention to the grand larceny and theft that those regulations permitted, whereby any person or policeman can enter any Palestinian house, search and seize anything they deem appropriate. etc.
It transpires that the army indeed makes use of these regulations and "gains possession" of property and money.
The owner is then allowed to appeal to the courts to regain his property.

Major Dahan said that there are several dozen such appeals every year.

In the decision I heard (Case No. 3006/12), Maale-Adomim police seized 84,000 shekels and a Mitsubishi Lancer. The military prosecution objected to hearing the
case, arguing that the seizure is temporary and that it was too early to bring the case before the courts. Naturally, there are all sorts of secret documents that cannot be disclosed for security reasons etc. The judge did not accept this motion, arguing that a long time (I am not sure how long) has elapsed since the seizure and since the owner appealed. This is what is referred to in military legalese as 'petition to return seized property'. This procedure cannot be dragged indefinitely.

However, the hearing in this case has just begun. Many waters will pour into the swimming pools of Maale Adumin before the owner will regain his money and his car, if at all.

Nessim Hader Abed Al-Muhsan Alame ID 901399147
Judge: Major Amir Dahan
Prosecutor: Captain Michael Avitan
Defense: Haled Al-araj

Nessim Alama is co-defendant in the ongoing saga of the retarded youth Malek Alame. The charge is rock throwing on 26.12.11.

Nessim is an elderly man, suffering from diabetes.
The prosecution has summoned two witnesses, one is Muhammad Alamae, who is already released and Shneur Shochat. Neither showed up.
Since Muhammad Alame has already been released, the prosecution did not
summon him (a specious argument, if you ask me). Shochat, who is either a
soldier or a policeman, simply disappeared. The protocol says there have been
6 attempts to locate him but his whereabouts cannot be traced.
Nobody seemed to care much. The judge ordered to continue the search and to summon witnesses.  The prosecutor explained that the court administration tried in vain to locate the witness. The defense said it would try to negotiate the case and asked the court to set an additional evidentiary hearing. Since the court is aware of the attorney's difficulty to get up in the morning and wants to show consideration, the hearing is set for 28.6.12 at 2 AM.

Courtroom 5

Hagit Shlonsky's report

Judge: Major Meir Vigisser

Cases of 32 "day detaineesinfo-icon" were brought in for remand extensions. We observed ten cases until noon. The youngest detainee was 13.5 years old, the oldest 68. 4 were charged with rock throwing - all four were minors.
Four detainees were caught staying illegally in Israel, one was suspected of membership and activity in an unlawful organization and other serious violations (one charge we could not ascertain).

Hearings of "day detainees" are usually short and often end with postponement, at the request of either the prosecution or the defense. Sometimes the court
accedes to the motion in order to allow completing of the indictment or a plea bargain.

Malek Awad, ID402848105 - Case 3076/12, 13.5 years old.

He is brought in handcuffed, like the other four detainees.
Malek is charged with throwing rocks together with other boys, one of whom
incriminated him. The prosecution shows photos of the incident which the
judge accepts as evidence of the charge.
Atty. Iyad Misk agrees to a 24-day jail sentence plus 500 shekels fine, the same penalty meted to the other boys implicated in the same incident.
Agreement with the prosecution is pending.
Decision: remand extension until Tuesday, 19.6.12.

Issa Awad, ID402730592 - Case 2871/12 - about 14 years old, from

He was arrested on 22.5.12 and charged with rock throwing.
The court had released him on bail, but he remained in jail because, in court parlance, "he was unable to meet the conditions of the bail". 

He is represented by Atty. Jalid.
Today the sides reached an agreement and the court accepted it.
Decision: 91 days of time served, 3 month suspended sentence for 3 years,
plus 500 shekels fine, or 15 days in jail.

Mahdi Tuihaa, ID 852950179 - Case 2964/12
Arrested for staying illegally in Israel. He is charged with entering Israel twice in a 3- month period, and with staying there for a long time.
He is not represented by an attorney. The judge asked if he wanted a court appointed attorney within 6 days, and when he consented, the judge extended his remand by 6 days and instructed the prison authorities to allow him 3 phone calls to his family.
The next hearing is set for 19.6.12

Muhammad Samara, ID 907623615 - Case 2779/12
Accused of staying inside Israel illegally.
He has prior convictions (apparently for the same violation) between 2000 and 2009. He claims that for the past 3 years he has not been convicted.
Atty. Abeer Mrar represents him, but Muhammad is dissatisfied with her representation. He seems stressed and in fluent Hebrew explains that he objects to delaying the hearing, as his attorney suggested. The judge explains that after three prior convictions, he is likely to receive at least 3 months in jail and advises him to rely on his attorney.
After deliberations between attorney and client, the attorney hands her resignation, and Muhammad seems pleased.

The judge decides to keep him in detention until conclusion of proceedings and instructs the court to find him an attorney.

He counsels Muhammad to bring to the next hearing testimony and documents to prove the dire economic need that impels him to enter Israel illegally to find employment.
Next hearing is set for the coming Monday 18.6.12 at 9:30.

Muhammad Afana, ID 852713726 - Case 2666/12 - resident of Beit Jallah.
He is 23 years old, father to a year old babyinfo-icon; his wife is pregnant.
Charge: Illegal stay in Israel.
His mother, who speaks Hebrew, told us that her son had hired Atty. Haled
Al-araj to defend him. Since her son's arrest a month ago, the mother and the wife have came three times to court and each time the hearing was postponed.  She claims that the delay was initiated by the attorney, who had not consulted her son or herself.

The detainee was brought in, but the hearing was postponed to the afternoon and we could not stay.

In a phone call later, the mother told me that the attorney had reached an agreement with the prosecution. The agreement was presented by Haled Al-araj's replacement (Ibrahim Al-araj).
Sentence: 91 days jail, 5 month suspended sentence for 4 years and 1500 shekel fine.