Ofer - Minors, Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
Minors at remand extensions
In the caravan known as Courtroom 7 remand extension hearings were taking place.
Justice Lieut.-Col. Meir Lahan saw several groups of four (the number of detainees that fit on the bench) brought in shackled and handcuffed. For all of them it was the first opportunity to see their attorney. There was great commotion in the hall as the lawyers tried to get information from their clients. The prosecutor and the police investigators requested remand extensions, mostly for 8 days, and the judge approved.
Some family members showed up. For the detainees and their relatives, this is the most important part of this “legal proceeding.” Almost always, this is the first time they meet their sons after the arrest.
In one case of an underage boy, the prosecutor said, “Not only did he throw rocks but he shone a light at passing cars”. Turns out he used a small laser pen. The prosecutor was not sure about the exact definition of the violation but it surely falls under “endangerment”.
According to several sources, there are now more than 400 underage detainees, including 16 girls.
In the yard we spoke to the father and brother of one underage girl; she is a cousin of one of the Palestinians recently killed in Hebron. She has been in detention for almost two weeks, and Atty. Ismail Tawil was happy to tell us that he had obtained an excellent plea bargain for her: 3 months in prison and a 2000-shekel fine. This is certainly a very good deal: she could have ended up shot dead.
After the recess, the waiting family members look exhausted. The mothers tell woeful stories of sons in prison; some have more than one son in prison. They tell about nightly raids, about frightened little kids, destruction of property and work permits canceled as soon as a family member is arrested.
One father arrived very early in the morning but did not find out until 4 pm if his son was due to appear in court. Palestinian time does not count, and certainly not a father’s disappointment when he can’t see his son.
In all these encounters we witness the helplessness of the Palestinians vis-à-vis the arbitrary system. We also feel the appreciation for our presence there, for our sympathy and solidarity.