Ofer - Appeal, Knives
Translation: Marganit W.
Once more, a desperate woman fleeing from an abusive husband and an abusive mother finds that her only choice is to go to prison
Atty. Avi Baram lodged an appeal at the appellate court on behalf of Ghadir Alatrash.
The panel included Col. Zvi Lekah (presiding), Lieut. Col Dudu Yahav and Lieut. Col. Ariel Bendor.
Vivi and I first found out about Ghadir Alatrash’s tragic case in August 2016.
The 28-year old woman, mother of 3 little girls, suffered harsh abuse from her husband. In her great distress, she decided to move to her mother’s house, but she encountered more abuse there. At one point she realized that the only solution for her is to seek shelter in an Israeli prison. She grabbed a knife and went to the Pharmacy Checkpoint in Hebron, where she was arrested on 9.8.16.
In all previous hearings the judges recommended psychiatric evaluation. When it was done, it was determined that she was capable of standing for trial.
During one hearing her mother informed her that her husband had divorced her, whereupon she hit her head on the banister and fainted. In subsequent hearings she wore handcuffs (Normally, handcuffs are removed in the court room).
In the end, Adir Alatash was sentenced to 3 years in prison.
In prison she tried to commit suicide several times and was kept in solitary.
Atty. Baram appealed, because in his opinion, the remaining four months she has to spend in jail are completely redundant. He reported that a social worker had visited the prison and recommended she be immediately released.
Today, Alatrash’s mental condition is a little better; she saves the little money she receives, so that after her release, she could hire a lawyer who will help her get custody of her daughters.
The judges advised the attorney to appeal to the Regional Commander for pardon, but a response may take a long time. He added that according to a law passed in 2016 there is no option for reducing a third of the prison term for prisoners who “have passed through here” in his words.
Though the prosecution conceded that Ghadir Alatrash’s case is a special one, they also mentioned that there are many similar cases where desperate people have resorted to wielding a knife. The circumstances are not much different than this woman’s. “The sentencing here reflects the accepted norms, and takes into account the circumstances and the severity of the violations as they are described in the revised indictment.”
The court’s decision will come after examination and sentencing.
Throughout the hearing Ghadir Alatrash’s face remained impassive. At the end she asked the attorney what her chances were. I am not sanguine.
Elsewhere, some women getting up from benches in the yard discovered big stains on their dresses. The metal benches had been given a coat of paint but nobody bothered to put up a sign. The dresses are permanently damaged.
One woman pleaded with me (because I belong to a Human Rights Organization?): “I have not seen my son for a month! Why am I not allowed to touch him? Don’t they know how a mother feels?”