Petah Tikva - Remand Extension, Interrogation of Witness
Full account in the Hebrew version
Judge: Major Itai Regev
Prosecutor: Sergeant Major Aataf Ouida
Stenographer: Corporal Hadas Pinhasi
Interpreter: Corporal Salman Katzur
Present in court today are Advcs. Abed and Mahajna, and two private lawyers, each representing one detainee. Proceedings start at 10:00.
Detainee: Ziad Mahmad Azala, a man of about 50 from Kfar Bita, taxi driver.
The investigating authority requests a remand extension of eight days.
Defense attorney: Salah Mahmoud from Um el-Fahm.
The defense opens with cross examination of the investigator. He notes that the suspect's brother has been arrested and interrogated. The suspect has also been interrogated 4-5 times by Shabak, and has given his version. Are there other suspects?
Investigator: "Cannot provide details."
Defense attorney: not asking for names in order not to hamper the investigation. Only wants to know if there are other suspects, and how many?
Investigator: At this stage cannot provide details because it will hamper the investigation.
Judge: rephrases the investigator's responses for the protocol.
Defense attorney: is the remand necessary for the investigation of the suspect, or for confrontation of other suspects?
Investigator: there is a detailed investigation program in the classified report and details cannot be added.
Defense attorney: is the version given by the suspect confirmed in the material collected, or is it completely untrue?
Investigator: at this stage, am prevented from explaining.
Defense attorney: what clauses in the classified report do you want to complete?
Investigator: 1, 2 and 3.
Defense attorney: is the remand based only on intelligence material or is there other data?
Investigator: on other data.
Defense attorney: the suspect has been detained eight days. He was interrogated and gave a police statement even before he was interrogated again many times. His story is consistent. He is a taxi driver who works at service. Most ride bookings are done through the office. On Wednesday, 24.10, he got a phone message from the office that he is to collect passengers from the gas station in Kfar Jamain. He arrived there and waited ten minutes. When nobody came, he phoned the office and asked what he was to do. He was told to wait since the ride had been paid in advance. After a few minutes three passengers arrived. He knew in advance that he was to take them to Huwarra Checkpoint. They did not arouse any suspicion. On the way, one of them asked him to increase his speed, but the driver did not do so. He dropped his passengers at Huwarra Checkpoint and continued with work as usual. In the morning hours of the following day, he was asked by the service to take passengers from Huwarra Checkpoint to Jamain at 07:30. He continued working on Thursday till evening.
The next day he was summoned for investigation and arrested. He waited three hours at Huwarra and was then transferred to Petach Tikva Detention Center. He was asked to identify the passengers in an identity parade, and was also asked to describe them for the Shabak.
This is a man of 50 with 12 children. The petitioner is covered by anonymity and the court has acceded to its request.
The defense is groping in the dark and it is not clear whether the interrogation is completed, whether additional suspects have been arrested, or whether they expect the suspect to identify additional persons that they intend to arrest. It is clear that the police do not claim that the specific trip was linked to the activity of the passengers. In any event there was no direct invitation and involvement of the driver. The payment was made in advance at the taxi service by someone else who did not travel in the taxi.
Possibly the investigation is stuck. What do they want of the suspect? No more than a few hours are needed to identify suspects - something which could have been done earlier. The suspect should be released or the remand should be for few days, and not the requested eight. If needs be they can make another request.
Judge: I have perused the classified report and learnt the circumstances of the detainee's arrest and of the investigation since his arrest. The defense attorney's distress is understandable since the investigative material was not released. In this situation, it is incumbent on the court to serve as the defense's eye. I have heard the respondent's statement and compared it to facts elicited by the investigation. I particularly made note of Clause 5(2) in the classified report evidencing the line that guided the investigative team.
I am convinced that in order to carry out the action of the investigation, there is room to allow at this stage for continued investigation in conditions of detention, so that the investigating authority can get the correct answers in the investigation of the suspect. At this stage, the request should be accepted. I extend the remand by eight days until 14.11.07.
The proceeding lasted ten minutes. At the end of the hearing, the defense attorney went to talk for a few minutes with his client.
Detainee: Amar Ali Tanbur, prohibited, born 26.10.1986.
The investigating authority requests a remand extension of 22 days.
Defense attorney: Advc. Abed.
Salah Mahmoud from Um el-Fahm, directs a few questions at the investigator:
Defense attorney: has his investigation started?
Investigator: yes, there was an interrogation at Shabak, though he has not yet made a statement.
Defense attorney: are there others involved in the affair?
Investigator: cannot answer at this stage.
Defense attorney: is there intent to interrogate frontally again?
Investigator: cannot answer. It's in the classified report.
Defense attorney: are there answers that can be heard without referring to the classified report? For otherwise it's a waste of time...
Investigator: turns to the judge and requests extension of remand by 22 days.
Defense attorney: the suspect was arrested two days ago and the investigation is at its beginning. All the questions posed to the investigator are rewarded by a referral to the classified report and we must therefore rely on the court. The very fact that the detainee has not met with a lawyer is a reason to shorten the remand period. He requests of the court to study the investigation file, to check the investigation plan and to see if there is justification for such a long remand extension. It quite often happens that the investigation is concluded quickly. A week should suffice, and extra can be requested if necessary.
Judge: I have perused the restricted report and learnt the circumstances of the detainee's arrest. I found that there is apparent evidence and reasonable suspicion that connect the respondent to the deeds attributed to him. There are specific and detailed suspicions and substantiated evidence from the investigation. The investigative program is detailed and notes activities and the time they will consume. I relate to the appeals court guidelines regarding the detention of detainees prohibited from meeting lawyers.
I am convinced that in the case before me there are guidelines in the paragraph that justify straying from the period of 15 days and that in this case there is room to accede to the request of the investigating authority. I extend the remand by 22 days until 21.11.07.
The proceeding lasted eight minutes.