Ofer - Health Problems, Holding and trading of combat materiel
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Etty Adar
Yesterday, the Palestinian prisoners declared hunger strike, demanding to rescind the policies of administrative detention and solitary confinement. They also called for changes in the medical treatment to prisoners, insisting they should be carried out in hospitals and not in clinics run by the Prison Authority.
I learned (from the TV program London and Kirschenbaum) that the Prison Authority employs doctors who are newcomers or who are unqualified: because they cannot find employment elsewhere, they are totally dependent on the Prison Authority. This explains why the prisoners demand to be treated in hospital where doctors focus on the patient’s health, not on where they come from.
All this was explained in Marwan Barghouti ‘s article in the NY Times that caused such a stir here: a Palestinian prisoner explains his position in an American newspaper?!
The PA attorneys went on strike today in solidarity with the prison hunger strikers. They will not come to court to represent their clients. This caused chaos at the military court. For fifty years the legal system has been staging this show of ‘Israeli justice in the occupied territories’, and now those strikers destroy the set. Everything was ready for the show: judge, prisoners, guards, prosecutors, even families waiting in the yard, but no defense attorneys! “Law and order” – which the courts have maintained successfully for 50 years –is not enough: true, there is (pernicious) law and there is order.
To add to the confusion, the defendants and the prison guards did not show up on time, the power amplifier system did not work and no one knew how to fix it.
We have seen attorneys’ strikes before, but they do not accomplish anything. There is a problem with attorneys striking and the judge addressed it (See below).
We later learned that only attorneys belonging to big firms that represent prisoners went on strike. Private attorneys and court appointed ones did not strike.
Drar Muhammad Amran Salah – ID 916747272
Charge: Possessing and trading in combat materiel.
Follow up on last week’s report: he is accused of arms trading and placing a charge by an army post. Drar is sick and apparently mentally impaired. He denies the allegations. In the two earlier hearings there were no family members in court. On 5.4.17 Justice Adar showed consideration and set the evidentiary hearing for today. Normally hearings are set for later dates.
Atty. Anwar Abu Omar was absent and Drar Salah was not brought to court, for some reason. We can imagine his frustration and anger when he found out that the hearing would not take place: he thought the court would release him.
The judge too was furious. She asked: How can an attorney do this to a client? And we thought of her role in this charade: why was Drar there in the first place. At the judge’s request, the prosecutor phoned the defense. He said he understood the problem but he could not violate the strike.
No date was set for Drar’ hearing, but the judge said it would be toward the end of June.
Salem Nasser Kuraan – ID 853071991
Charge: possessing and trading in combat materiel
Defense: Avi Baram
In this apparently banal hearing there are so many pieces that make up the puzzle of the Israel occupation of the West Bank. There are interlocking dramas: Palestinians who are Israeli citizens versus Palestinians from the occupied territories and the different legal systems that govern their lives; Bedouins, with their traditional vendettas; truces that take advantage of political reality and the geographical division between Israel and the Territories; the resistance and the possession of arms.
The defense refused to enter any negotiation because Salem Kuraan is an Israeli citizen with an Israeli ID. He is originally a Bedouin from the Negev who was forced to leave his home because of a feud that ended in a truce that prevented bloodshed. The condition was that he and his family would move from Beer Sheva region to the village of Awaja near Jericho.
Salem, with an accomplice from the Territories, is accused of arms possession and trading. The accomplice will be tried in a military court, but atty. Baram claims that his client, an Israeli citizen, should be tried in an Israeli court, where (to say the least) the rules and regulations are different. The defense assumes that if an Israeli court convicts his client, the penalty will be lighter.
Majdi Muhammad Khalil Mansour - ID 401518527
Charge: possessing and trading in combat materiel
Defense: Labib Habib
The attorney did not show up. Impossible! Said the judge. Labib is not on strike!
But apparently he is, and the judge is angry: the attorneys don’t give a damn about the courts. Doesn’t he care about the poor prisoner shunted from place to place? She sees no connection between the prisoners and her role in all this. She blames the Palestinian attorneys. THEY should show consideration for their clients’ distress.
No new date was set. However, the judge allowed the families to enter the court to see their loved ones.
Muhammad Fadlala Muhammad Salame – ID 851744037
Charge: Reckless driving and endangerment.
Muhammad Salame is charged (and confessed) that on 10.2.17 he drove a “mashtuba” – an Israeli jalopy bought in order to be dismembered and sold for parts – with an invalid Israeli number. He drove without a license under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Later it turned out it was marijuana.
Near Jericho the police stopped him and the vehicle was searched. He gave fake personal information and in order to divert the soldiers he “caused a disturbance”. There was no damage and no violence.
In the arguments for penalty, we heard the prosecutor’s voice for the first time. She requested 6 months’ imprisonment from the day of arrest. She noted that the accused was about to get married, owes money and is the sole provider for his family. He is remorseful: “I made a mistake and will never repeat it,” he declaimed.
He will be released before the holiday of … Al-Aqsa? No, what they meant is Id Al Adha.
Sentence: 6 months, revoked driver’s license for 2 years and 4000-shekel fine.