Salem - Minors, Stone Throwing

Observers: 
Nurit Popper, Daphna Banai (reporting), Avi B., Tamar A. (Ta’ayush)
14/02/2019
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Morning

Translation: Marganit W.

About seventy desperate pairs of eyes look expectantly at a dilapidated tin door with a small square opening through which the names of the detaineesinfo-icon are announced. What are they waiting for? Perhaps to glimpse from afar the son or the handcuffed husband standing with downcast eyes behind a low fence. Truth and Justice will not be found here.

Inside the court, the parents sit by the wall at the back of the hall, unable to communicate with their son. On rare occasions they manage to exchange a few words.

Today the family members were disciplined, scared and confused. This is their first time in a military court. They fail to understand how their kids, good kids who have done nothing (one was not even on the site, but what difference does this make?) ended up here.

The two hearings we attended lasted barely a minute each. Outside, other parents told me that this is standard for such hearings. The courts waste no time discussing what actually happened. The cases usually end with plea agreements. Truth has no place here.

In this case, it was obvious that it was a false accusation (See further). The children were soon released: one after 2 hours, the other after 12 hours, at midnight.
In both cases they did not get their phones back, because it was not noted on the court document that the phones had been confiscated. The kids had no idea what they were signing because the forms are in Hebrew. Thus, they did not get their phones back: they probably ended up in the hands of a corrupt cop.

The Case:
On 5.2.19 the daughter of the Military Security Commander from Rotem Colony-Settlement – in the North Jordan Valley – complained that 16-year old A. threw rocks at her. He was arrested in the middle of the night, then released (from Ariel, which is 2 hours drive to his home).
A week later he was arrested again, this time with his brother. They were accused of an indecent act. This is a serious allegation, especially since it followed the rape and murder of another Jewish girl. The ‘alleged incident’ took place in a secluded spot in the mountains. Two days later, the two boys were brought for remand extension but, as mentioned earlier, they were released. The accuser repeatedly contradicted herself in her testimony and at the police station, and eventually she fled in the middle of the interrogation.

As we walked out through the exit tunnel, I felt great distress. My heart was with the desperate people in the courtyard, looking longingly at the square in the door.