Ofer - Fines, Membership/activity in unauthorized association
Translation: Marganit W.
The incredible story of the Qatari Charitable Non-profit organization
In 2008 a welfare foundation named “The Qatari Charitable Non-profit” was set up and registered legally in Ramallah. Its operatives were hired through official tenders. The charity covered education, welfare and industry. Its vehicles, displaying its logo, passed through checkpoints and drove around Palestine.
In 2009 it was declared a “proscribed organization” although nobody informed the foundation about it and it continued to operate undisturbed.
In Sept. 1915 Jamal Jodeh, the director, Fadi Manasra, the accountant and Najwan Odeh, the office manager and two additional employees were arrested.
Atty. Jawad Boulos represents the two managers.
Atty. Boulos brought up the delay, i.e., why were they not informed in 2009 about the illegal status, and why were they arrested only 6 years later.
The attorney’s objections were denied.
The other employees were tried and since been released from jail.
As is common in Ofer, at a certain point a plea bargain was suggested.
The prosecution wanted each manager to pay a fine of 1,200,00 shekels.
The assumption was that the Qataris would pay.
The panel today included Lieut. Col. Zvi Heilbronn, Major Etty Adar and Major Haim Balilty.
After conferring with Jamal Jodeh and Fadi Manasra and their families, Atty. Boulos got permission to present a plea bargain.
The prosecution agreed on jail time to coincide with time served plus a 1,000,000 shekel fine for each detainee, or a year in prison.
(Boulos told me that the one-year prison alternative is a great achievement because normally it is several years).
The problem was that the higher authorities have not yet approved, and they could not be reached by phone. Apparently, there was some conference today and they were not available.
The final hearing was set for 26.7.17.
The family members left the court very angry. They know for sure that the Qataris will not pay the fines and they are clueless as to what to do.
On Friday afternoon I spoke to Ahmad Jamal, Jodeh’s son, who told me that they had decided to pay 250,000 shekels now (out of the million agreed upon), so the two detainees can be released.
Since yesterday they have been busy trying to get loans.
I have attended many hearings where the charge was membership in a proscribed organization, but the fines were never this high. For example, Najwan Odeh, the administrative manager, was fined only 70,000 shekels, which is considered high!