Ofer - Interrogation of Witness, Health Problems
Translation: Marganit W.
“The criterion to use in deciding whether a detention is in excess of the time needed for the procedure is in direct relation to the severity of the violations and the accepted level of punishment, in case there is a conviction”
This is a quote from the protocol dealing with the request for reconsidering ‘detention until the end of procedures’ in the trial of Khalida Jarrar.
This statement refers to the many cases where the legal procedures drag on so as to coincide with the time the prosecution thinks the penalty should be; here is another proof that in the military courts the accused is guilty until proved innocent.
This morning the court once more was filled with family members, diplomats, Amnesty International representative, journalists, friends and political activists.
Judge: Lieut. Col. Zvi Heilbronn
Prosecutor: Lieut. Nethanel Yakov Hai
Defense: Atty. Mahmoud Hassan, Atty. Sahar Francis
Defendant: Khalida Knaan, Muhammad Jarrar, ID 946614138 -Case 3058/15
The prosecutor opens his arguments with an outburst, complaining that his hands are tied because the court official does not summon witnesses.
The judge disagrees saying that according to the file the witnesses had been summoned. The prosecutor enumerates all the actions taken by the court office. The details are not interesting. The result is that this is the third time no witness showed up.
Atty. Hassan argues that the prosecution is using excuses to stall the case. The defense has not yet received an orderly list of the evidence and the investigation.
Moreover, the prosecution has issued a gag order on 12.7.15. It is impossible to appeal to the military Court of Appeals if you don’t know what is concealed from the defense. There are 17 witnesses, probably hostile ones, which means the policemen who deposed them will have to be summoned too. This looks like a strategy used by the prosecution to drag the case, exhaust the defendant and force her to accept a plea bargain.
Atty. Hasan reminds the court of his client’s medical condition and the suffering she undergoes every time she is brought to court. Despite the judge’s recommendation, she is still taken out of her cell at 3 AM, is unable to use the bathroom and waits the whole day in the holding cell.
In the end, the judge decides to allow the prosecution to summon its witnesses one more time. If they don’t show up for the next hearing, he may not approve of another postponement.
The next hearing is set for 24.8.15.
After the break there was a re-examination of the decision regarding ‘detention until the end of the proceedings.”
Judge: Major Haim Balilty
Prosecutor: Lieut. Nethanel Yakov Hai
Defense: Attys. Mahmoud Hassan, Sahar Francis
Defendant: Kalida Jarrar, ID 946614138
Reminder: Justice Balilty ordered to release Khalida Jarrar, but the prosecution appealed and won. The prosecutor reiterated how difficult it is to summon witnesses because of the court’s negligence. He added that in a case where the penalty may be high and the average time of processing is 22 months, another month makes no difference.
The defense moves again for alternative to detention under any condition the court sees fit: high bond, third party guarantees by Palestinians or Israelis or any other condition. In addition the defense says, “The defendant has the right of ‘presumption of innocence’. If in four months there has been no progress, the defendant has the right to be presumed innocent, until the prosecution proves otherwise. What may eventually happen after six months in detention is that she’ll agree to a plea bargain.
Due to her medical condition, every trip to the court is torture. If the prosecution’s strategy is to wear down the defendant by repeated trips to the court, let them say so clearly.
The defense requests an alternative to detention,”
Predictably, the request was denied.
In Justice Major Sigal Turjeman’s court we attended the continuation of the case of Said and Jamil Awad.
Prosecutor: Lieut. Anan Sarhan
Defense: Atty. Neri Ramati
Defendant 1 – Said Muhammad Aliyan Awad, ID 851948331 - Case 1578/14
Defendant 2 – Jamil Ahmad Aliyan Awad, ID 991871773 - Case 1577/14
[See earlier report on this case]
The hearing focused on testimony by Amiel Vardi, Ta’ayush activist who belongs to a group that comes every Saturday to help Palestinian families reclaim their land.
In reply to the judge’s question, Amiel explained that their work of documentation is very important and often helps the lawyers representing the Palestinians who often have to prove that they are barred from reaching their fields. It is also important for the public in general and to anyone who is interested in what goes on in the Territories.
He testified that, in his experience, the presence of activists in the area has a beneficial effect in that it reduces the violence and encourage respect for the law.
I don’t know if the judge is really ignorant of what goes on in the territories or just playing naïve, but she asks: Can’t the documentation be done by just two people? Amiel replies that it is dangerous.
Later, after watching film strips, the judge asks why the Palestinians bring their children there, if it’s dangerous. Amiel explains that the Awad family usually brings the kids with; the parents explain to the kids how they inherited the land and how they intend to divide it in the future.
The prosecutor argues that the Israeli activists go there to protest and to create provocation. Amiel explains that he often participates in demonstrations, but in this particular case, they accompany the farmers who wish to enter their own plots. Amiel is very knowledgeable about the High Court of Justice decisions regarding those lands: the decision to dismantle greenhouses put up the settler Deutsch, and certainly with all the details pertaining to the incident where Said and Jamil Awad were arrested.
I hope that Amiel Vardi’s methodical and impressive testimony will bring justice to the defendants.
The court will hand down its decision after the prosecution and the defense have submitted their written summations.