Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Holding and trading of combat materiel, Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Lieut. Col. Zeev Afik
Investigator: Mahmoud Afif
Defense: Atty. Louai Oka, Firas Sabah and Tarek Bargout (not present in court)
There were six cases in the docket, three of the detainees are barred from seeing an attorney, one represented by an attorney who did not show up – for unknown reason, not only to me but also to the detainee who was brought for remand extension.
It is our impression that the terms “continuous interrogation” and “interrogation of necessity” have become more common recently. The latter is an interrogation during which the detainee is beaten and tortured as needed, in order to extract information.
On 6.9.1999 The High Court of Justice published decisions of several appeals against the State of Israel and the GSS which forbade the use of enhanced interrogation techniques that constitute abuse and torture. That decision changed the existing legal practice regarding the GSS authority in the interrogation of terrorism suspects.
The main thrust of the decision was that the GSS does not have the legal authority to use physical means that go beyond “fair and reasonable” interrogation, and that cause pain to the detainee. However, the HCJ stipulated that GSS operatives who exceed their authority and use physical pressure, will not be held criminally responsible, if it turns out later that it was done under “proper circumstances”.
In the years since that decision, instead of stopping the illegal abusive practices, the GSS instituted the “interrogation of necessity” process, which in fact gives an a priori approval to use illegal, excessive physical pressure.
We noticed that one detainee had trouble walking, another was unable to stand (this was a “barred” detainee waiting outside the court on the floor, who had trouble getting up). Another one, in a case where there was an agreement between the sides, complained that he could not sleep because of sharp pain in his arm (for being handcuffed on the arm instead of on the wrist). We concluded that the use of force in interrogations is common.
Justice Afik allowed us to stay in court (during a remand extension hearing where only the attorney was present). Investigator Afif was visibly displeased with the decision but had to abide by it. The judge refused to conduct the case behind closed doors without approval from the investigators. The interrogator acceded to the judge’s decision.
Abed Alkarim Suleiman Rashid Abu Ramoz – ID 9938398229
Defense: Sabah, Oka, Bargout
There is an agreement on an 8-day remand
Abu Ramoz was arrested on 13.4.14 on suspicion of keeping and hiding weapons in his home. He is part of a group of suspects accused of harboring arms and of other charges.
The judge agrees to the 8-day remand, until 21.7.14.
Muhammad Mustafa Musa Sheritah – ID 911557759
Defense: Sabah, Oka and Bargout
There is an agreement on 8-day remand. Sabah agrees and adds: the detainee has pains in his right leg, probably due to “interrogation of necessity”. In a previous hearing, there was a request to have him checked by a doctor outside the detention facility. A Hadassah doctor determined that he needed medication, but the detainee never received it in jail.
Justice Afik noted in the protocol that the Hadassah doctor’s orders have to be followed.
Detainees barred from seeing an attorney:
Diab Mustafa Nasser – ID 85309389
He has been detained since 1.7.14, suspected of illegal terrorist activity.
The investigator wants a 15-day remand. The defense objects to such a long period for a detainee barred from seeing an attorney. The investigator states that there has been progress in the investigation. The detainee has made a statement to the police.
Question: How many times was the suspect interrogated by the GSS?
Answer: 16 times.
Q: Was it a continuous interrogation?
A: The suspect was interrogated many times but not continuously.
Q: When did he start confessing?
A: on 7.7
Q: Will the prohibition to see counsel continue? (It begins with the detention).
A: I will let you know.
Defense summation: The defense objects to the police’s request. The detainee has been undergoing harsh interrogation since his arrest; being interrogated like this for such a long period is unacceptable.
The judge’s decision after meeting with the detainee (with the defense and the observers out of the room):
The allegations are serious; his involvement in the events has to be investigated thoroughly. It turns out that he has failed a polygraph test, which requires more investigation to get to the truth.
Remand extension for 11 days.
Shukri Mahmoud Muhammad Hawaja – ID 953120325
(see report from 3.7.14)
Defense: Sabah, Oka, Bargout.
The Investigator request 15 more days to complete the investigation.
The defense objects and asks:
Is there progress in the investigation?
Q: Did he make a statement to the police?
A: He is doing so now.
Q: In the earlier hearing, on 3.7, His honor said in his decision that the suspect was starting to confess to the allegations. Why has he not done so yet?
A: Because it is a complex investigation. Today he started making a statement. It’s a very complicated convoluted investigation.
Q: Has he been interrogated by the GSS since the last hearing?
A: More than 10 times, on several days continuously.
Q: When did he start to confess?
A: It’s in the confidential file.
Q: He was supposed to be examined in a clinic. Was he?
A: I don’t know. The judge will ask when he meets the suspect.
Defense Summation: the defense objects to the police’s request. The suspect has undergone harsh interrogation by the GSS since 17.6. He claims he has been beaten on the legs and slapped. He has prior medical issues and needs treatment.
According to the previous protocol, Sabah adds, the suspect has started to admit the charges. There’s no reason for such a long extension, without the court’s supervision.
We left the court with the defense, and the detainee was ushered in.
The detainee claims that a doctor gave him pills for stomachache. Now he has pains in his legs and back.
Justice Afik’s decision: The confidential file shows that there is ground to suspect him of illegal activity in Hamas, including concealing combat materiel.
The files of other men involved in this case have already gone to the prosecution.
The judge decides on 8-day extension and refers the suspect to further medical examinations: first he complained about stomachache, now about stomach, back and legs.
Hasan Ali Hasan Qawasme – ID 937576320
Barred from seeing his attorney.
He was arrested on 11.7.14
The police investigator requests 15 days remand extension.
Attorney Sabah objects. He asks:
What are the charges against him?
A: Current military activity.
Q: Has he been interrogated about it?
Q: Is he cooperating?
A: (refers the court to the confidential file)
Q: Are others involved?
Q: Was he incriminated?
A: (refers the court to the confidential file)
The defense objects to the long remand, asking the court to check if the suspect is cooperative. If he is, the number of days should be reduced.
We left the court and the suspect was brought in.
From the protocol: The suspect claims that he was helping his brother, who was wanted by the police, to find a hiding place. He also helped move him from place to place.
Decision: The suspect was arrested on 11.7. He and his brother are suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of the three Yeshiva students. The suspect was an accomplice after the fact; he did not know that his brother was wanted in connection with a serious crime.
The judge added: He may have helped the killers of the boys in other ways.
With the police’s consent he shortens the investigation by 11 days.