Ofer - Holding and trading of combat materiel, Palestinians staying illegally in Israel
Translation: Marganit W.
In the courtyard a man approached us asking for advice. We could only listen, but later we witnessed an interesting exchange between him and another man. Here it is, verbatim, minus one relevant detail:
The man told us that his son was driving a car on the road to Jericho. The young man had had a few bears and was driving under the influence, without a license and exceeding the speed limit. When stopped by the police he caused an accident.
What can you say to a man in such a predicament? But it is the rest of the story that is significant. “They” told me, he said, to hire this lawyer [we have the name; the man is known for appearances at Ofer in cases involving traffic violations] “They said it would be worth my while; he is a good lawyer. “They” are the police. Now the lawyer demands 5000 shekels for his services and the man is helpless.
At this point another man joined the conversation: You believe the police? Have they ever done anything for you? You think they have your welfare at heart? Why did you agree?
The man explained that his son did not cause the accident, the police did. They recommended the lawyer and that’s what he did. What should he do now?
He should have hired another lawyer: the PA prisoners’ agency would not charge him anything. But now it is too late. In any event, we cannot intervene in such cases.
We walked away leaving the two man, one hopeless and penniless, and the other who bawled him out and depressed him even more. The missing detail is: who was it that recommended the lawyer? “The police” is too vague. The question is: can the police recommend a lawyer to traffic violators? Is it legal? Why recommend this particular lawyer? Who will benefit from the 5000 shekels? Bear in mind: 5000 shekels is only the beginning. There is also the fine.
We may never find out who benefits from these 5000 shekels, but we know that desperation leads to corruption.
Justice: Etty Adar.
There are 24 cases in the docket, 4 of people entering Israel without permits, one accused of possessing and trading in combat materiel and 9 accused of throwing stones and fire bombs.
Muhammad Mahmoud Karkur – ID 907345516
We reported on this case on 24.8.16. He is accused of arms possession and trading. Karkur is a taxi driver and is charged that on 29.7.16 he allowed his cab to be used to transport a package to Ramallah. It contained bullets, so he was accused of possession of arms.
The defense had reached an agreement with the prosecution and the judge approved due to “his clean record and the fact that he confessed and also did not receive payment, apart from the cab fare,” which mitigates his guilt and indicates that he was innocent.
His attorney, an Israeli rarely seen representing such cases, was confident he could summon witnesses and get him out scot free. But after delays in bringing in the witnesses and other bureaucratic contretemps and 3 hearings that yielded no progress, he realized where he was and agreed to a plea bargain.
We could not ascertain the exact penalty, but it seems he got 5 months imprisonment in addition to time served, plus 10,000 shekel fine and 20 months suspended sentence for 5 years.
We tried to get the protocol, but after many attempts we realized that he was not willing to cooperate with us.
We did not attend the hearings of the four who “left the area without permits”, but we would like to stress again that the very definition (leaving without a permit) describes the occupied territories as a prison and the Israelis as prison guards. Instead of reporting on the hearing (including the place of residence, the area of arrest, the purchase of fake papers and the rest of the built-in corruption) we include a big sign found at the entrance of Safra Square proclaiming: “the gates of Jerusalem are open to everyone”, at the same time that tens of thousands of Palestinians are prevented from entering.
Mujad Akram Deeb Rajbi - ID 401070339
Charge: possessing and trading in combat materiel
Defense: Fadi Qawasme
The case represents a perennial problem of the military courts – delays and dragging of feet.
Munjad has been detained for 8 months now. He wanted to replace his attorney, apparently tired of waiting for a trial.
The Palestinians brought into the military courts are not looking for justice there. They know what Israeli justice means: its aim is to justify the occupation and protect the settlers. A court case with testimonies and witnesses can last more than two years. It isn’t worth it. All they can hope for is a reasonable and fast plea bargain. But it has been eight months now and his lawyer moves for another postponement. Rajbi is impatient and wishes to get another attorney. The court agrees and allows him a phone call to his family so they can find him another lawyer, hopefully one who is faster and less busy.