Ofer - Stone Throwing, Shooting

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Nitza Aminov, Hagit Shlonsky


Translation: Marganit W.


Courtroom 2

Judge: Major Etty Adar

Prosecutor: Lieut. Dvir Wiesel


There were 27 cases in the docket. We sat in the court for about two hours. 11 defendants were brought in groups of four. Their hands were free but their feet were chained. Members of the families arrived and the detaineesinfo-icon conducted some sort of dialogue with their loved ones. The only one who was not happy was the guard from the prison authority whose nap was interrupted. The judge was quite tolerant of the commotion.


Ahmad Samih Ahmad Hatab,ID 403816022– Case 2070/12

Ahmad is accused of “shooting at a person”.

Today is a memorandum hearing. The defense is Atty. Ismail Tawil.

The case opened a year ago and the judge is anxious to conclude it. “I have to pronounce a sentence,” she pleads with the defense. (The law in Israel stipulates that a legal procedure has to conclude within 9 months. Until recently, in military courts, it was two years, but this must have changed recently).

There is no indication what has happened during the year that the defendant was in jail.

An evidentiary hearing was set for 3.4.13 and for witnesses’ testimony for 10.4.13


Leit Bassem Mustafa Alksabra, ID 414843227 –Case 4840/12

Accused of membership and activity in the Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine], from 2011 until his arrest (?)

During this period he put posters on walls, carried flags and attended meetings of an unlawful organization.

Atty. Firas Sabah was absent today and his replacement, Mahmoud Hassan, requests a postponement.


Yusuf Salah Yusuf Zaharan,ID 852905843 –Case 2649/12

A concluding hearing was set for today.

Yusuf is a young man, not a minor. He’s been in prison for many months and so far has not confessed (to the charge of “possessing and trading in combat materiel”). Today the sides have reached an agreement: the prosecution will amend the indictment and the defendant will accept the charges.

Atty. Haled Alaraj is replaced today by his relative Ibrahim Alaraj, who leaves from time to time to consult his “boss” who is busy in another courtroom and occasionally pops in to say a word to the defendant or the family and even argues for a moment before the court.

The judge enumerates the amended charges: the defendant entered Israel on various occasions during 2011; at the end of 2011 he purchased an improvised hunting rifle and 5 bullets, which he used for hunting. At the beginning of 2012 he purchased 24 bullets in Nabi Saleh. Yusuf accepts the charges. The prosecutor asks that the court forfeit the rifle. The defense agrees.

The punishment the court meted took into consideration Yusuf’s clean record, his admission, his young age and the fact that the rifle was improvised.

Sentence: 13 months in prison; 2 months suspended sentence for 5 years and a 2000 shekel fine.

Ibrahim and Haled Alaraj represented 8 defendants in today’s session. Most were from Al-Aroub, arrested during 2012. At the defense’ request 7 hearings were postponed to later dates.

4 of them were the following:


Abed Alhakim Muhammad Awad Tamimi,ID 936508258 –Case 1174/13

Charge: throwing objects

Deferred to tomorrow, 4.3.13


Nader Haled Slame Gandi – ID 854466653 – Case No. 4775/12

Charge: manufacturing and throwing an incendiary object

Deferred to 20.3.13


Muhammad Adnan Said Asa’is,ID 85481568-Case 4778/12

Charge: manufacturing and throwing an incendiary object

Deferred to 3.4.13


Omar Muhammad Aassi Shehade,ID 858645872-Case 4777/12

Charge: Manufacturing and throwing an incendiary object.

Omar Shehade objects. He wants the trial concluded today, not postponed. Haled Alaraj is summoned to tackle his wayward client. After a short conference with Omar, Atty Alaraj hands the judge his resignation. The judge tries to reason with the defendant: “I have not examined the evidence yet, but according to the charge sheet, we cannot finish the procedure today. If you confess to the charges, we can finish, but if you don’t accept all the charges, we need to summon witnesses in order to pass a verdict… I want to protect you, so I will give you 5 minutes to confer with your attorney…” She also extols the attorney’s experience and his ability to help the defendant.

In order to enable negotiations to take place, the hearing was postponed to 10.4.13.

I found the judge’s active intervention in client-attorney relations puzzling. During the entire morning session she made no comment on the conduct of the two attorneys (working in tandem) representing most of the defendants, even though there was a tacit rivalry between the attorneys in court as to who would represent one of the defendants whose attorney was absent today.


Courtroom 5

Judge:  Lieut. Col. Shmuel Kedar


This judge has 46 cases, all concerning remand extensions. We attended a hearing in the case of two Wallaje residents caught in Israeli territory and detained since Thursday night (three days ago). When arrested they had no permits to stay within Israel.

Attty. Abir Mrar handled their case and she was present in court. But as of today Atty. Ali Sahar represents them. He explains that as residents of Wallaje, they possess permits to stay in Israel that are called “expulsion prevention documents”. Those papers had been deposited at Ofer Prison, and he offered to retrieve them and present them to the court today, so that his clients could be released.