Ofer - Interrogation of Witness, Maltreatment
Translation: Marganit W.
All seven women detained at Damon Prison on charges of membership in Hamas (because they allegedly belong to a “Women’s Council”) deny the allegation and therefore face evidentiary hearings.
Judge: Lieut. Col. Zvi Heilbronn
Hearing in the case of
Defense: Atty. Akram Samara
Two detainees were brought in from Damon Prison for the evidentiary hearing:
Dina Karmi and Saffa Abu-Sneina.
The hearing started in late afternoon, so only Dina Karmi testified.
From the beginning Dina objected to the prosecution’s use of the term “Hamas Women’s organization in Hebron”. She asserted that it is a women’s group that visit the families of Shaheeds [victims] and prisoners. Their mission is to provide psychological support to people in distress.
When the prosecutor cited Dina’s statement to the police from 12.7.18, Dina told the court that during her interrogation she provided many statements that were not anchored in reality. She was under great pressure, and was told that if she cooperated, she would be released and reunited with her daughter.
She also stated that she had fainted three times and had lodged an official complaint against her interrogators.
Since Dina recanted everything she had said in her statement, the prosecutor moved to declare her a hostile witness; the judge concurred (declaring her a hostile witness means that she can now be asked ‘leading questions’.)
Through the hearing Dina claimed that there was no such thing as a women’s committee, only an eclectic group of women who occasionally visit families. She admitted that she favored Hamas, but was not a member of that organization.
When asked about Lama Khater, Dina said that Lama was politically astute and had an analytical mind, but she was not in charge of anything, not even the ‘women’s council’, which, according to her, doesn’t even exist.
The interrogation lasted a long time, and Atty. Samara did not have enough time for cross-interrogation.
The hearing ended at 17:30. It will resume on 30.1.19.
As I mentioned earlier, Safffa Abu Sneina was also brought to Ofer, but there was not enough time for her interrogation.
The detainees are taken out of Damon Prison early in the morning and return there late at night. We heard from Atty. Tagrid Jahashan, the legal counsel of “Women for Female Political Prisoners”, that when prisoners are brought to Ofer, they are kept in a tiny, unheated, smelly room.
That day there was also a short hearing in the case of Asraa Lafi.
She was represented by Atty. Ahlam Haddad.
Asraa, too, denies the charges against her.
Her evidentiary hearing is set for 20.2.19.
Dina Karmi, Saffa Abu-Sneina and Susan Awiwi will testify at that hearing.
Members of the families of Lama Khater and a brother and sister of Asraa Lafi were present in court. Lama’s husband and one of her daughters were present at the hearing.
I mentioned in earlier reports that Lama’s husband could not obtain a permit to visit her in jail because he had been in prison. His only chance to see her and exchange a few words is in court. The few words between husband and wife irritated the Nahshon prison guard who had accompanied the detainees, and she kept bawling them out:” No talking in the court!!”
Sure, you must show respect to the military court!