Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing

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Nitza Aminov (reporting)


Translation: Marganit W.


A Defiant Actor

So often, while attending court hearings, we have a sense of watching a well-known play, where each player “struts and frets his hour upon the stage”.

Once in a while, however, an actor, surprisingly, decides he wants to play a different role.


Judge: Lieut.-Col. Sharon Rivlin-Ahai

Prosecutor: Lieut. Barak Tamir

Defense: Atty. Mahmud Jabrin


Ward Saber Atabish, ID 402811186 - Case 4040/13

14.5-year old Ward arrives with his father from home.

The defense announces that a plea bargain has been reached.

The boy receives the charge sheet in Arabic and the show begins.

Judge: You have just read the charge sheet: you are accused that on 15.7.13 you threw rocks. Do you accept the charge?

Ward: NO!

A big confusion ensues. The defense tries to explain that Ward does not understand the concept of plea bargain. The father calls to the boy trying to explain his role to him. Everything begins anew.

Judge: We are in a court of law, and in court you have to tell the truth. You are accused…. 

But the boy stands his ground: he does not admit the charge.

The judge, obviously amused by the situation, continues: Here you must say only the truth, and you do not have to admit to something that you did not do.

The prosecutor heaves a sigh and says that nothing doing: an evidentiary trial is called for. Witness 2 and 3 will be summoned to the next hearing.

The father pleads with the court to ease the conditions of house arrest since school starts soon: perhaps Ward can be allowed to go to school. The request is rejected.

The father later told me that his son had been arrested a month ago and was in detention “for only one week”. The father paid for his bail 10.000 shekels, plus third party guarantee.

The hearing is set for 1.9.13


Muhammad Annis Sami Al-Dweik, ID 401512181 - Case 39661/13

Defense: Atty. Tarek Bargout

I reported on Muhammad Annis’s trial on 21.7.13. He is accused of manufacturing and throwing a firebomb.

The defense claims that even though there was a big demonstration in Azariya, the defendant only passed by. Muhammad does not accept the charges and today is the evidentiary hearing in his case.

Witness Ahmed Bader is brought in from jail.

He details a series of harsh interrogations, claiming he was transferred to Jalame Prison in order to prevent him from seeing an attorney.

He states that he does not know the defendant Muhammad Annis. He himself is 19, and the defendant looks to him like a 14 year old. He claims that this is the first time he claps eyes on the defendant.

At one point the prosecutor wants to declare him a hostile witness, but the judge explains that this legal term is used when there is a discrepancy between what a witness has said in interrogation and what he testifies now.

This explanation triggers a long, detailed outburst about the pressure applied on the defendant during the interrogations: he even tried to commit suicide in jail.

The prosecutor’s examination lasted until lunch break and was scheduled to continue afterwards. At this point I left.

Last time I wrote about my conversation with Muhammad’s mother and sister. This time the father, too, was in court and I realized that I knew him. The family was grateful for my presence and this was a fresh reminder for me why, amongst others, we attend these court hearings. We must remember our solidarity with the detaineesinfo-icon’ families and how important it is for the Palestinians.


Muhammad Ahmad Halil Abu Hashem, ID 859493918 - Case 4038/13

My previous report on Muhammad’s case was on 21.7.13

He is accused of throwing rocks. I think he confessed.

Atty. Lymor Goldstein was in court, but after a short while he told me that the family had decided to transfer the case to Atty. Iyad Misk from the “Palestinian Prisoner Society”. The strike by the “Prisoner Society” attorneys is still on, so Atty. Misk did not show up in court.

The next hearing is set for 1.9.13