Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Remand Extension

Roni Hammermann, Tova Szeintuch (reporting)

Translation: Miriam Erez

Russian Compound

Someone named Avigdor opened the doors along the black corridors. We were seated in a lawyers’ waiting room. “Wait,” we were told. We waited half an hour for them to find the right escort to take us into court. The investigator, Avi, came to get the defense counsel, but didn’t take us.

There were 14 cases up for remand extension, only two of which were open to the lawyers and to us. An exemption permit for those prevented from seeing a lawyer. The judge was Hanan Rubinstein. The first detainee was prevented from seeing a lawyer. The second (whose name we could obtain neither from the investigator nor from the lawyer) carried on a conversation with his defense counsel for a few minutes, to which Avi listened to every word. The detainee had been arrested on November 1, 2007.

The lawyer opened with a statement to the judge:

the accused has pleaded not guilty to the charges”. How come the investigator is asking for a 22-day extension? It’s his third extension. What have you done up to now?”

Investigator: He only gave a partial statement. We have to continue to investigate.

Lawyer: Why?

Investigator: Everything’s in the confidential report, as well as a few other actions we want to carry out.

Lawyer: How come you didn’t finish in the previous extension?

Investigator: Confidential.

Judge (perusing the file and deciding to help the investigator):

The investigation is developing in such a direction that without another extension, we won’t be able to investigate. We have to move forward on it; we need the extension. Everything appears in the confidential report. There are new developments related to the case. At this stage, I cannot relate to others that appear in the file.

Lawyer: This is his third extension, when in fact his investigation is over. The investigator’s request ought not to be granted. The accused already gave his full version in the daily interrogation. I’d like to see the confidential material. If necessary, the remand can be extended for a few days only.

Judge: I’ve perused the investigation file including the confidential information report from today, as well as the previous ones. In addition, it emerges that the accused was interrogated every day of his detention. While it is true that he’s been in detention for about 40 days, the continuation of his investigation is necessary in order to clarify more details that must be checked. The investigation has not yet been issued (indicates the sub-clauses that require clarification, necessitating that the accused remain in detention). The file cannot be submitted for military investigation. Regarding the 22 days extension requested by the investigator, I ask that we try to shorten the detention, and I expect the investigation to come to a conclusion.

The judge orders a 15-day extension. The accused is bitter. We asked to clarify the accused’s name, but even the lawyer wouldn’t tell us. The second detainee was brought in.

The investigator and the lawyer spoke to each other in Hebrew. After a few minutes, the accused was taken from the room, and we remained, not comprehending a thing about what had just taken place.

Investigator Avi announced to us that today there would be no more extensions that we should wait for, because the rest of the cases were of detaineesinfo-icon who were not permitted to see lawyers. It seems to us that each time, the time we’re allowed to observe gets shorter. He escorted us outside resolutely.

Outside one door that led to another corridor sat another detainee who is not allowed counsel, his legs shackled and his arms tied behind him. He’s not meant to hear names or any other speech. The investigator whisked us out as fast as he could.