Ofer - Stone Throwing, Interrogation of Witness
Translation: Marganit W.
Among other hearings, we attended a remand extension hearing of the “Judea Juvenile Military Court”.
Judge: Major Rani Amer
Prosecutor: Atty. Yaron Kenner
Defense: Atty. Ihab Galid
Jamil Ibrahim Jamil Juarish,ID 403890593- Case 7439/14 from the refugee camp Aida (near Beit Jallah).
Since the defendant is a 16-year old minor, the judge conferred with the defense and the defendant to see if they agreed to our presence [in lieu conducting the hearing behind closed doors] and they agreed.
The boy has been detained at Ofer for two weeks now.
The prosecutor requests detention until the conclusion of the proceedings.
The boy’s father and brother were in court.
The boy is accused of throwing rocks at soldiers. He denies the allegation, but he was incriminated by two other boys, as well as by the unit commander who witnessed the incident and claims that even though he lost eye contact with the suspect, he can identify Jamil by his clothes.
The boy’s father is a painter. He told the court that his son volunteers for the Red Crescent and was present at the incident as part of his job. When the soldiers started chasing the other boys, he got scared and ran away.
The defendant himself asked the court to release him so he could go back to school.
The defense moved for release under restricting conditions. The charge is a single rock throwing that caused the soldiers no harm. The father offered to bring his son to future hearings and vouch for him.
Before handing down his decision, the judge explained briefly that in view of the increase in rock throwing lately, stricter procedure should be employed. However, one should also be able to pick out the “good boys” from the lot. [Presumably, this comment was directed at us, the observers]. Then the judge said that before making a decision about remand extension, he would like to have a report by the welfare coordinator as well as documents from the Red Crescent testifying to the defendant’s activities.
The judge extended the detention by 8 additional days, until 17.11.14.
On 18.11.14 the judge announced his decision not to release Jamil on bail and set a hearing before the Juvenile Court for 15.12.14.
Judge: Major Meir Vigiser
Prosecutor: Captain Yaniv Bar
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
Defendant: Mahmoud Waja Muhammad Tamimi, ID 853461796 –
Resident of Nabi Saleh.
The hearing took a long time: it started in the morning and continued after lunch. I will mention the highlights. The rest of the interrogations and counter-interrogations regarding identification of the defendant by the army can be found in the protocol(Hebrew).
The backgroundof the popular struggle and the weekly demonstrations of Nabi-Saleh and Dir-Nizam:
On their land (which was declared” State Land”) the settlement of Halamish/Neve Tzuf were built [See Wikipedia]. The main bone of contention is the well “Ein al-Kus” which the Halamish settlers annexed to themselves. Since 2009 every Friday there are protest rallies at Nabi-Saleh. The army tries to suppress these demonstrations by every means possible, but mostly by neutralizing the organizers by arresting them and putting them in jail for long periods.
In Mahmoud Tamimi’s case (He was arrested on 18.2.14) the trial focuses on two demonstrations, on 7.2.14 and 14.2.14.
The company commander who testified for the prosecution reported that when the demonstrators reach the entrance to the village, he informs them that the demo is illegal [There are no legal demonstrations in the Occupied Territories – N.O.] and they then continue on the road that connects the “village” to the “community” [sic] of Halamish.” The examination of this witness focused on the very sophisticated methods the army employs to identify the demonstrators, and mostly the “main instigators”. These methods include: a list of incriminations and a photo album of the villagers. This info is gathered for identification of targeted individuals but also as intelligence.
The army, claims the Commander, wants to zero in on demonstrators who pose a threat, i.e., the chief instigator who, according to the army, “fans the flames”. When he is identified, they focus on articles of clothing and other marks, and they follow him to his home in the village. One of the army’s objectives is to take as many photos as possible during demonstrations and cross them with the incrimination lists.
In Cross-examination, the defense questioned the identification methods the army uses for people they target and then arrest on the basis of those lists.
Question: Mahmoud was not designated as a ‘chief instigator’. Why did the army come to his house?
Answer: That particular action did not center only on arrests. They entered houses for other purposes, which I will not specify here… for security reasons.
Mahmoud was arrested when his photo was crossed with the file of photos the army keeps.
Later, three other witnesses were examined: the company photographer, the soldier who arrested the defendant, and the police officer who took Mahmoud’s statement.
The questions dealt mostly with the method of identification through photos.
In the cross-examination, many of the defense’s questions were answered with: “I don’t remember”.
The evidentiary hearing will continue on 19.1.15 at 13:30.