Ofer - Membership/activity in unauthorized association, Women
Translation: Marganit W.
Long Live Chaos
Judge: Major Kamal Zahareladin
Defendants: Saida Bader, Sonya Al Hamouri and Susan Awiwi.
Defense: Atty. Ashraf Abu-Sneina for Saida Bader, Atty. Akram Samara for Sonya Al Hamouri and Susan Awiwi.
The detainees are three of seven Hebron women accused of belonging to Hamas because of their activity in the “Hebron Women’s committee”.
Normally, we are appalled at the chaos that reigns during the hearings: defendants and prisoners are brought in and out, attorneys confer with them for a few minutes, then family members are let in and everyone talks to everyone, while the hearings are taking place.
This time, though, we “enjoyed” the situation (in a manner of speaking: there is no joy in the court). We had heard earlier from the attorneys that they plan to move to postpone the hearing, and we feared that the families would have no time to talk to the detainees. But, as luck would have it, there was chaos in the court.
Atty. Ashraf Abu-Sneina was in a hurry to go to another hearing and asked the other attorneys to set later date. Various possible dates were discussed (not Sunday or Wednesday, because those are the days of prison visits); Ramadan is approaching, so either before, after or during the holiday.
The family members of the detainees were ushered in: husbands, sons, and mothers. First came Saida Bader’s husband, and a lively conversation ensued, with much information regarding members of the family. The husbands had joined forces and reported about their meetings. For twenty minutes everyone talked together. A guard even acceded to Vivi’s request to move a little to allow good eye contact between the family members.
It is true that prison visits last 45 minutes, but they are carried out behind partitions. The families insist on visiting the prisons regularly, but not everyone gets a permit. And so the Palestinians always come to the court hearings. They leave early in the morning and wait long hours in the yard outside the court. In most cases they are allowed to stay in the courtroom for a few minutes for short exchanges with the detainees. We mentioned before the slogan “This is not a visitation!” heard often when the families are taken out, sometimes forcefully.
This time, at least, it was different.