Ofer - Release on Bail, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Morning and Afternoon
What happens when a young Palestinian from Qalandiya – who has never seen the sea – decides to do something about it.
Judge: Lieutenant Colonel Shmuel Keidar
Prosecutor: Captain Adi Yakobi
Defense: Ismail Tawil
Defendant: Mussa Muhammad Jamal Za’id - ID 854676202
Mussa is a young man from Qalandiya who is about to be married this coming Friday, January 6th.
His fiancée is in court, weeping, together with her mother and Mussa’s father. Mussa found an ID card and decided to use it to go to the beach, something he had never done before.
Here is a quote from the prosecutor: “Most Palestinians entering Israel illegally do so for work, hence the penalties, which take into consideration this motivation. The defendant, however, entered Israel in order to bathe in the sea. A person who scoffs the law just so he could dip in the sea – not even for livelihood – is frivolous and likely to repeat the offense.”
The Judge, on the other hand, understands the defendant: “I agree with the defense that the defendant committed the offense to gratify himself, which is an innocent act posing no security risk. A high monetary deposit should insure that he reports to the court.
The judge releases him against a deposit of 5000 shekels and an arraignment hearing is set for 9.3.15.
Shosh Kahn (from Women for Women Prisoners) and I arrived early to observe Lina Khattab’s evidentiary hearing.
Last Wednesday an appeal was filed against the decision not to release her to house arrest. Justice Ronen Atzmon has not handed down his decision yet, so the hearing was postponed. However, the Shabak [GSS] had not been informed, so Lina was taken to Ofer [it is worth reiterating that detainees are taken out of jail at 2 AM, and are kept in a cell all day, until their return to jail. N.A.]
Awda Zbeidi informed Lina’s parents and they came immediately, so they could see her, however briefly.
Lina’s trial will start on 16.2.15.
In the yard we saw Fidaa Suleiman’s mother. Fidaa is from Beit Ur and was arrested for throwing rocks on Rte. 443. Three of her brothers and a cousin are also in prison. Another brother has just been arrested.
We attended the hearing in Justice Keidar’s court.
Defendant: Jihad Muhammad Hader Suleiman – ID 853005049
Prosecutor Adi Yakobi requests remand extension. There is a CD recorded by an observer at 2:20 .The observer called the soldiers and they arrested the accused, who the prosecutor claims was drunk.
The judge says the CD is not in the file, and besides, the defense has a right to view it.
Remand extension until 3.2.15.
Atty. Barkat represents
Iyad Majd Mahmoud Darwish – ID 853211100
Iyad was caught staying illegally inside Israel several times. The defense would like to reach an agreement with the prosecution, but there are severe personal circumstances: Iyad’s daughter has leukemia and is undergoing chemotherapy. He has to go to hospital on Wednesday. The defense produces the medical records.
The judge is convinced and at first orders Iyad released on bail, but later Atty. Barkat reaches an agreement with the prosecution and the decision is:
detention to coincide with time already spent, plus 1000-shekels fine.
Thus Iyad will be able to be with his daughter.
Judge: Lieutenant-Colonel Zvi Heilbron
Prosecutor: Captain Pasek Rostilov
Defense: Atty. Haled al-Araj
Defendant: Fidaa Muhammad Yusef Da’amas - ID 410128284
Fidaa is a young woman from Beit Ummar, accused of throwing rocks at the Gush Etzyon Junction. After her arrest, her brother too threw rocks and a knife was found in his possession. His detention was extended by 8 days.
The attorney, who got the indictment only today, tells Shosh and myself that the whole story sounds strange. If she wanted to throw rocks, she could have done so at Beit Ummar instead of traveling to Gush Etzyon. He was able to talk to the young woman, a sweet college graduate. He told the court: “I heard the young woman’s story outside. I ask not to translate my words and to hold the hearing behind closed doors. I will submit my request in writing.”
The judge accedes to the defense’s request, which includes also a request to hold the brother’s hearing on the same day. He asks for a special report and sets Fidaa’s hearing for 8.2.15 before a remand judge.
The attorney told us what he had heard from Fidaa, but we will respect her privacy.
When you stay in the court from 9 AM to 5:30 PM, you hear a lot of sad stories from the detainees’ families.
A woman from Beit Ummar came for a hearing of her son and nephew (a minor), arrested on 14.1.15 during the big wave of arrests that included 18 detainees. The woman already has 3 sons in jail; one of them is 20 and has been at Rimon Prison for 5 years (which means he was arrested at the age of 15). Since I know many families in Beit Ummar, she invited me to dinner.
A young man tells us about his brother, a student from Beir Zeit, who has been detained for 2 months at Petah Tikva and is now transferred to Ofer. The arrest (more like kidnapping) was done in the middle of the night (and as usual, they broke the door). At first the family did not know where the son was detained. Last week they were notified about an upcoming hearing at Salem, so they rushed there, only to find that it was someone else with a similar name.
So a mistake was made, so what?
Another young man is here for his brother’s hearing. For 6 months the brother was under administrative detention, then he was charged with security violation. His sister and brother in law were in Gaza with their 4 children. The parents were both killed in the last war. Another sister from the West Bank is trying to obtain a permit to go to Gaza to take care of the children. The “Center for the Protection of Individuals” [“Hamoked Le’Haganat Ha’prat”] tries to help but to no avail. In his despair he asks for our help. Sadly, we had to disappoint him. All we can do is be there, tell their stories and show solidarity.