Ofer - Incitement, Membership/activity in unauthorized association
Translation: Marganit W.
Justice Etty Adar presiding
There are 23 names in the docket: 10 accused of shooting, throwing rocks or firebombs, 3 of possession and trading in combat materiel, 6 of leaving the area without a permit and 2 of membership and activity in a proscribed organization. One is accused of incitement.
First, a comment on the phrase: activity and membership in a proscribed organization.
Like many definitions churned out by politicians and army linguists, this one presents a false presumption: as if there are legitimate associations in the occupied territories.
Incitement is also par for the course. This is the first time I see incitement as a clause in an indictment in the military courts. This is obviously the prevailing philosophy now.
Bassel Shawarna was arrested when he posted on Facebook his support for his 17-year old brother who is in jail after he was shot by the army a year ago. He is still awaiting trial.
The hearing was so short that we could not hear the decision. The father told us that there was a remand extension.
The first 7 cases were summarily dismissed, each meriting only 3-5 minutes. The attorneys petitioned for extensions, which were granted, and on to the next case. We commented in earlier reports that for these 5 minutes, the families get up at dawn, wait in line at checkpoints, spend time and money traveling, wait in the outer courtyard, squeeze through turnstiles, wait in the inner yard, eventually enter courtroom 4 only to leave 5 minutes later, after having exchanged a few words, perhaps smiles, with their relatives.
Most cases were postponed to January.
Tarek Bitar Issa Salame – ID 398607199. He lives in Jericho.
Defense: 2 attorneys from the Ma’er family.
Tarek is accused of driving an Israeli car (yellow license plate) in the territories.
There are 12 clauses in the indictment. He denies 9 of them.
The defense wants to examine some of the witnesses for the prosecution.
The judge mentions the witnesses: they are the arresting officer, the one taking the statement, the writer of the report, the editor of the photographs etc. Three additional witnesses for the prosecution will not be summoned to court, but their testimony will be presented to the judge.
We noted that there was no mention of witnesses for the defense.
Among the witnesses was also one “in charge of printout of family relations” – what can that be??
Mahdi Ali Badawi Ahaleil – ID 854746328. He lives in Beit-Ummar.
Charge: throwing objects.
Defense: Haled Al-Arej.
Mahdi Ahaleil was arrested two years ago. He is charged, that together with others, he prepared pipe bombs, which he meant to throw at a pillbox at the entrance to Beit Ummar. In one instance, he made a pipe bomb from a fire extinguisher and filled it with nails.
He is also charged that he hid near his house materials for the making of pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails, and convinced two friends to drive to the pillbox and throw the charges, after having ascertained that there were no soldiers present. In addition, he blocked streets in Beit -Ummar in order to disrupt security forces’ work.
(I pictured the forces driving in Beit-Ummar, spreading security, while the accused blocks their way and prevents them from spreading security).
Until today he refused to plead guilty. Today the attorney spoke to him at length, trying to convince him to accept a plea bargain. This is our own conclusion, since today he changed his mind. He capitulated. Anyone who knows the procedures in the court realizes that a man arrested two years ago, who consistently rejected the accusations, finally understands that if he does not accept the plea bargain, his trial will last indefinitely.
The attorney pointed out the weakness of the evidence. Where were the bombs thrown? There was no mention of the danger they posed, or the times when they took place.
There are several clauses in the indictment starting with the words: In Dec.2014, July 2014, 2013… taking part in demonstrations… and other vague details which cannot be verified or denied. There was no discussion of the danger involved, and in fact no damage was done. The defense thinks this should be taken into consideration for leniency.
Sentence: 44 month in prison, 12 months suspended sentence, plus 3 more months for 3 years, so he won’t commit any violation against the public, and a 4000-shekel fine.
Bassel Fuzi Awwad Aljuaba – ID 859602062
Charge: membership and activity [in an unauthorized association].
Bassel, too, was arrested about 2 years ago, in Dec. 2014.
He was convicted on a charge that in September 2014 he conspired with another person to carry out a terrorist attack in Israel. They planned to manufacture an explosive charge, and put it on an Israeli bus. Bassel printed out info about manufacturing explosives and obtaining the necessary materials. When they failed to produce an electric cycle, they gave up on the plan.
In Nov. 2014 he became a member of a military unit whose mission was to manufacture explosive charges and hurl them at security forces.
There is a plea bargain: 36 months in prison, 18 months suspended sentence (for the plan to manufacture explosive) and 8 months suspended sentence for 5 years for membership and activity in an unlawful association.
Plus a 6000-shekel fine.