Ofer - Release on Bail, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Military Court of Appeals
Deputy President: Lieut. -Col. Zvi Lekah
Prosecutor: Lieut. Gilad Peretz
Defense: Atty. Anwar Abu Omar, Nery Ramati
Appellant: Malek Naim Ahmad Shalade – ID 850280512
The debate is about alternative to detention [until end of legal proceedings]. The appellant is accused of throwing rocks. Malek Shalade is a shepherd and has never been arrested before. One day, while tending his sheep, he noticed that the flock was getting too close to the fence. At that moment the Military Security Coordinator (in charge of security in the settlements) showed up, pelted the defendant with 4-5 rocks and shot 3 bullets in the air. The defendant threw rocks at his sheep to steer them away from the fence. One rock hit the vehicle.
The attorneys point out the discrimination in the investigation: the complainant’s weapon had not been checked: nobody asked him why he threw rocks at the shepherd. The defendant, however, was arrested.
The prosecutor states that the appellant cannot be trusted; if the Security Coordinator says that he did not fire, he should be believed.
The defense attorneys explain that even in the preliminary interrogation, the appellant’s version – his claim that he was pelted with rocks and shot at – was not checked. Both versions were examined at the same time, but as mentioned earlier, only the complainant’s version was accepted.
As in all appeals cases, the judge’s decision will be given later.
In Justice Major Avery Einhorn’s court several hearings of minors take place, so I am not allowed to give details. Outside the court, I spoke with Atty. Ramati about one of the cases. He’s a 14-year old boy, and the attorney has a social worker’s report with test results. In Israel, there is a detention report that sheds light on the minor’s personal data: who are the people who can vouch for him, guard him etc. – this is a significant difference between Palestinian and Israeli minors. Ramati tells me that the Appeals court, in its decision, stated that since it was not within its purview to order a report of detention by the Palestinian Authority, it fell to the defense to do so.
In the end, the judge ordered an alternative to detention that consisted of 5000 shekel deposit, 10,000 shekel guarantee by third party, and confining the boy to his home, except when accompanied to school by an adult.
By court rules, the prosecution can appeal the ruling within 72 hours (3 days). Then there is a procedure to check the guarantees; this will be done on Sunday, 8.6.14. Thus, even if everything happens according to schedule, the boy will remain in jail for another week – everything in accordance to protocol.
We waited for long hours. We were joined by Shosh Kahn from “Women for Women-Prisoners” who came to hear the case of Tahrir and Sadam Mansour on whose case I reported several times in the past.
The hearing was very short because Atty. Mahmoud Hassan requested an extension in order to reach a plea bargain.
The ten minutes when Tahrir sat next to Sadam in court and they spoke to each other and to their father were priceless.
The next hearing will be on 11.8.14
The father spent time in Israeli prison, so he is barred from visiting his children in jail. At 6 PM, when we left the court, I asked him at what time he had left home that day. It was 6 AM.
In the courtyard we spoke with many families. They had all arrived early, because nobody informs them about the time of the hearing, or if it will take place after the break. We know that Palestinians’ time is of no importance.
On the whole, we attended only a few hearings. But the conversations we have in the courtyard are more revealing. We hear many details that are not included in the indictment and in plea bargains.
For example: On Thursday, 29.5.14, I was on the main street in Azariya shopping in a familiar store. I know the owner well. There were several military vehicles across the street with soldiers milling around. One person, NOT in uniform, but all covered up, like the soldiers, was pushing a scantily dressed boy into a car (he was wearing shorts, under-vest and flip-flops). A woman, probably his mother, stood nearby. I asked the crowd that had gathered, what was going on. They said it was a common occurrence. I commented that the man arresting the boy was probably from the “Muhabarat” (Shabak), and they agreed: it was Adnan, in charge of the area.
They told me that the previous night 11 houses were raided and boys were taken into custody. When they noticed my shocked reaction, they said, “Aadi” (meaning: usual). I took out my cell phone and started taking pictures, but the soldiers signaled to me to stop and crossed the street telling me it was forbidden to take photos. I told them they were wrong, and minutes later they went back.
I am relating this long story because on Monday, in the courtyard at Ofer, Aya was talking to some women who told her they were from Azariya. She called me and we spoke about my visits to Azariya. One boy said, I saw you taking pictures, and another one said he had seen me argue with the soldiers. They were all in court because of the group of 11 that were arrested that night. It is hard to describe the feeling of solidarity with those Palestinian who know we are there for them.
Another interesting and heartbreaking conversation was with Ziad Darnassa from Dir Kadis, which is a small village near the settlements of Kiryat Sefer and Upper Modi’in. Ziad’s brother, Riad,, 39 years old, has been under administrative detention for 9 years, with short 6-months releases once in a while. On Monday, his attorney, Firas Sabah, appealed to the Supreme Court on his behalf. The very next day Riad was taken to the Russian Compound. The claim is that there is new material, unrelated to the material of the administrative detention. [The attorney cannot see this material either].
Ziad came early in the morning hoping to see his brother and gather information. At noon, the attorney told him he had just found out that Riad is barred from seeing an attorney, so his brother could not attend the hearing. I could not help but cry when Ziad told me that Riad’s little daughter thinks that jail is her dad’s home. She keeps asking: When is Daddy coming to live in our home?