Ofer - Knives, Membership/activity in unauthorized association
Translation: Marganit W.
“Just a Regular Day…”
When we arrived, the place was already chock-a-block full of family members coming to attend the hearings. When we left, around 6 PM, several relatives were still waiting. They knew the hearing would end with a postponement and a new date, and yet they did not give up on a chance to see their detained relative, be it for only a few minutes.
We had many conversations in the courtyard and attended several difficult hearings, including those of minors.
Vivi and I decided to attend hearings of women detainees.
Salam Abdullah Muhammad Abu Shrar – ID 859849127
Judge: Major Etty Adar.
Defense: Atty. Ashraf Abu Sneina
Salam is a student at Abu Dis University.
She was arrested on 19.4.16.
The prosecution claims that she received 500 Dinars from someone in Gaza as a stipend, and in return was asked to open Facebook pages to pass information about security incidents, arrests and other problems in the region. [Information that is openly shared and accessible – N.A.]
At a certain point Salam realized this link might endanger her and she put an end to it!
Eventually she was accused of bringing enemy money into the region, contact with the enemy and services to an unlawful association.
A plea bargain was presented:
10 months in prison from the day of arrest. 18 month suspended sentence for 3 years on condition that she does not repeat the offense. Additional 4 months suspended sentence for 3 years on condition that she does not infringe the ‘enclosed area’ rule. And inevitably a monetary fine of 5000 shekels.
Toward the end of the day Justice Lieut. Col. Zvi Heilbrunn presided over the hearing of Halva Hamamra.
She was represented by Atty. Faddy Qawasme.
Halva’s husband waited patiently for a hearing that lasted 5 minutes, and that’s when he was able to exchange a few words with her.
Halva, 22 years old, is from the village of Hussan and has a 2 year old daughter.
On 8.11.15 she arrived at Beitar Illit Settlement and tried to stab a security guard (who was lightly wounded) – a charge that may cost her dearly, regardless of the fact that she was shot on the spot and was severely injured. She was taken to Hadassah Hospital and underwent surgery on hand and foot.
On 25.11.15 she was transferred to Sharon Prison and is now at Damon Prison.
The next hearing was set for 22.11.16.
A hearing was scheduled for Madlen Alharizat (brought in from Damon Prison and endured the torment of the Posta [transport] – of which later) but Atty. Bargout did not show up (he was at the supreme court pleading in the case of the Albalbul brothers who are on a hunger strike), so the hearing was postponed to 20.9.16.
Justice Major Haim Balilti presided over the hearing of
Hifaa Makrum Abd Alkarim Abu Sabih – ID 904897238
Defense: Attty. Haled Al-Araj
Hifaa was visibly angry during the short hearing, and her husband – who had brought her regards and news from home – could not placate her. What made her so angry? She is held at Damon Prison and it is important to describe here the harsh conditions under which prisoners are brought to Ofer.
The trip takes THREE days. On the morning of the first day the prisoner is transported directly from the prison to the Posta [Prison Service vehicle], which already holds several male prisoners. It, then, goes to Kishon Detention Center. All this time the prisoners wait hours in the vehicle (with no air-conditioning); then they are taken to Sharon Prison and held in a “transitory ward” (i.e., separated from other prisoners). The next day they are woken up at 3 or 4 AM and transferred to a waiting room where they wait for several hours. Around 6 they board the Posta together with men and criminal female prisoners and go to Ramla Prison. At noon they arrive at Ofer where they are kept in waiting rooms (I will not describe the conditions, the food etc.).
Hearings in court end around five, after which they are taken to Ramla Prison. The Posta is detained at crossing points, and finally they arrive at Sharon Prison around 10 PM. They get no food or drink until the next day. On the third day they are picked up at 9 AM, go to Kishon, wait for 2 hours, then to Carmel Prison. When they finally arrive at Damon Prison, they have to wait 3 more hours until they are sent to their ward. By this time the women are totally exhausted. This is, in a nutshell, the via dolorosa the prisoners have to undergo.
Hence Hiffa’s anger. She resented being submitted to such torture when it was known that the hearing would be postponed.
The next hearing: 14.12.16.
Hifaa is from Hebron, she is 36 years old, married and mother of 6 – the youngest is 2.
She is the principal of a private elementary school and active in several charities. In addition, she is chair of an organization of kindergarten and private school teachers in Hebron, board member at the Center for Democracy in Ramallah and an international expert on human resources development.
She was arrested at home on 14.12.15.
Her attorney Tagrid Jahshan, the legal council of “Women for Women Prisoners” reported that Hifaa had undergone a harsh interrogation. In a consistent effort by the Occupation authorities to eliminate all civil society associations, Hifaa is accused of membership in an unlawful association.
A short hearing in the case of Hadija Badawi (released on bail) took place in the afternoon.
She is accused of attempting to smuggle a phone into prison while visiting her son.
Atty. Jamil Hatib requested a postponement.
Next hearing: 29.11.16.
Hadija asked if we thought she would be allowed to visit her son, who has been in jail for 2 years under administrative detention.
I doubt she would be allowed.