Ofer - Release on Bail, Holding and trading of combat materiel
Translation: Marganit W.
There is limited activity in the courts today. There are hearings only in one of the seven courts. It is not a Jewish holiday, nor a Muslim, Christian or Druze holiday. The Military Court is out on a trip.
Judge: Major Daniel Kfir
Military Prosecutor: Lieutenant Daniel Mauda and Lieutenant Yossi Brachia
There are 16 cases in the docket.
One of the detainees is Muhammad Jaber, ID 404436651, a man of about 50 or 60, arrested two days ago and appearing before a judge for the first time.
He is suspected of dealing drugs, but he denies the charges. His case is presented by a policeman and will be given to the prosecution for indictment when his interrogation is completed. He is represented by Atty. Abeer Mrar. She questions the police officer about the evidence on which the allegations are based.
She asks the officer: Where did you find the drugs?
Officer: In the room.
Atty.: Where exactly?
In reply, the officer draws a circle in the air saying: in the space inside the room. (A rather dubious explanation). The officer mentions Ecstasy pills and a large quantity of Hashish – too large for personal use.
The police request a 10-day detention. The attorney requests release on bail. The judge sides with neither, setting the next hearing for Monday 6.5.13.
Muhammad Samir Ali Aladam – ID 850087693, a young man from Hebron.
He was arrested at Tarqumiya Checkpoint and is accused of staying illegally inside Israel. The prosecution has divided the charges into three: falsification of an official document, entering Israel with a false document and the use of a false document. The document in question is the entry permit known to anyone who stands at the checkpoint.
The three charges, according to the prosecutor, point to a continuous and systematic activity that is fraught with endangerment. Moreover, in 2007 the detainee was convicted on illegal entry and there was a suspended sentence against him, which is no longer in effect. But this does not prevent the prosecutor from insisting that “these parameters point to recidivism and risk flight… and therefore a remand extension is to be warranted until the conclusion of the investigation…”
From personal knowledge of the conditions on the ground – not from ”parameters” – the facts can be interpreted differently: for more than five years Muhammad Aladam has been desperately trying to provide for his family (17 people including some disabled brothers) by infiltrating into Israel, with and without permit. In 2007 he was caught and given a suspended sentence, which prevented him from getting a permit. In the last five months he has been given a permit and gone through the checkpoint with the valid document.
Atty. Mundar Abu-Ahmad claims that the permit is legitimate. His client is a public servant, and since February he has been in and out of the checkpoint without being stopped. The prosecution has no proof that the permit is fake.
Now comes the shameful part: Muhammad Aladam asks to address the court. He turned to the judge and said in Hebrew: “I have been going through the checkpoint for eight months with a permit. Why would I want to harm the state? I love the state… I live here” And he reiterated his love for the state where he lives (which apparently does not return the sentiment) and told the court about the hardship his family is suffering.
In the meantime the permit is passed from hand to hand: from the prosecutor to the defense to the judge and back to the prosecutor. The attorney insists that the permit is valid, while the prosecutor claims that he has some document from the Civil Administration which claims that it is not.
The judge – whom we see for the first time today – says he wishes to examine the validity of the permit thoroughly and defers the hearing to 8.5.13. Until then, the detainee will remain in custody. He is allowed 5 phone calls at the state’s expense, including the use of cell phone. What about the 17 persons who depend on his work? This is not the concern of the court.
Muhammad Abu Awwad, ID 854535937is also accused of the same violation: entering Israel without a permit. He stayed there for 2 days.
His attorney, Munther Abu Ahmad tried to get him released on bail until his trial, because he has no prior record. In the military courts’ book a record consists only of a clash between a resident of the Territories and the military justice. No other ‘record’ is relevant.
As usual, the prosecution requests detention until the conclusion of the investigation because of “flight risk”. The defense suggests conditions that would prevent flight; that means money: 4000 shekel deposit, an Israeli guarantor who would put up 10,000 shekels, plus 7000 shekels more for something we did not get. If Muhammad can meet these conditions, he will be released on bail and the trial will resume on 5.5.13.
The prosecutor immediately asked to defer the decision by 72 hours and the judge acceded.
The hearing took place on 30.4.13. 72 hours will bring us to 3.5.13. If the next hearing is on 5.5, what’s the point of depositing money, arranging for guarantors etc?
Wael Adarah – ID 851588350.
A clergyman from Yata, in the South HebronMountains.
The charge: possession of arms and hunting without a license.
There is a revised indictment but no evidence, so the defense has reached an agreement with the prosecution. If it does not go through, Mr Adarah will be in detention for many months until this is sorted out, so he is is better off accepting the charges.
We don’t know if Mr Adarah actually hunted pigeons, but neither does the judge – there is no evidence.
Atty. Ali Aramin reached an agreement with the prosecution, and the purpose of this hearing is to obtain the judge’s approval.
Mr. Edre admitted to owning a gun and 40 bullets, and insisted that he shot 5 pigeons.
Because of “difficulty obtaining evidence” (in other words, there IS no evidence) the offered deal is: 45 days in prison, and 4000 shekel fine or alternatively 4 more months.
The defense raises the defendant’s status in the community as a clergyman.
The judge accepts the agreement, but not without lecturing the detainee on “what’s expected of a man of the cloth…. It is illegal… the gun can fall into the wrong hands… (No, he does not mean the settlers). Still, the judge allows him 5 phone calls, including the use of cell phone at the state’s account.
Ahmad Da’ejna – ID 851842443
Elias Da’ejna – ID 851101873
Mussa Da’ejna – ID 956952402
Kassem Da’ejna - ID 942503632
Defense: Munther Abu Ahmad
The defendants are three brothers and a cousin, shepherds from Yatta. Their flock is in the village of Jinba, near Yatta. They drive there in a Mitsubishi – an Israeli vehicle – without a license. We reported about this state of affairs in the past, so we’ll recap briefly:
Palestinians buy used cars from Israelis very cheaply. The PA forbids this practice: it gives licenses, plates and insurance only to new cars. Thus, Palestinians drive in the Territories without licenses and without insurance.
To reach Jinba from Yatta, the shortest way – by 15 km - is through Israeli territory. The prosecution claims that they have done this routinely (hence the recidivism) In the past, the police and the army did not object. However, now the policy has changed, and they were stopped at Meitar Checkpoint at the entrance to Israel. They are charged with two violations: driving an unregistered vehicle and violating a ‘closed area’ injunction.
The driver, Kassem Da’ejna, denies the allegations, claiming he knows the area well and they were not driving in Israeli territory.
The prosecutor reiterates the danger they posed, their flight risk and the recidivism, requesting detention until the conclusion of the investigation.
The defense, citing Kassem’s denial, requests release on bail.
The judge determined that the defendants did not try to infiltrate Israel; they just wanted to take a 15 km shortcut. He said: “The circumstances of the case imply no endangerment; the flight risk can be countered by appropriate release terms; each detainee will pay 2000 shekels, plus 3000 personal guarantee, plus 5000 guarantee by an Israeli citizen. Since they are related, the payment should be made jointly. But the state of Israel also allowed each of them 3 phone calls, including a cell phone, at the state’s expense.
The prosecutor requested a 72-hour delay, but the judge allowed only 48 hours, until noon the next day.