Salem - Plea Bargain, Shooting
Translation: Jonathan M.
We had come to watch the continuation of the trial of Omar Abed Alrauf Mustafa Haled from the village of Jayous, who was charged with firing a weapon at a person and the preparing and planting of a bomb. We had followed earlier stages of this trial. The arraignment took place on 20.06.2007 and the evidentiary stage took place on 06.09.07, to which no witnesses were called since the defense and the prosecution had nearly reached a deal. A memorandum took place on 04.11.2007. The plea bargain that was agreed on by the defense and the prosecution was rejected by the defendant. Arguments for sentencing were scheduled to 10.01.2008.
Following the advice of defense attorney Adnan Raabi, we arrived at the courthouse at 09:00. When we arrived, the morning inspection was taking place, and the list of the day's hearings was not yet hung on the door.
Outside we talked to attorney Raabi, who defends minors on behalf of D.C.I (Defense for Children International). He told us he reached a plea bargain in the case of Omar Haled. The plea bargain left only two charges standing: firing a weapon at a human being and the manufacturing of weapons. The proposed sentence, based on the fact that the defendant was a minor at the time the alleged offenses took place, was 38 months in prison. According to attorney Raabi, without a plea bargain, the sentence could reach 7-8 years.
We attended the hearing of Omar Haled and Seven other hearings.
Single Judge - Lieutenant Colonel Yair Tirosh, Chief Justice of the Salem court house.
10:20 The defendants, including Omar Haled, are accompanied by nine employees of the prison service into the courtroom. Omar's brother and sister are brought in. His mother stayed outside. Attorney Raabi tells us that there is no chance of getting permission for three family members to enter the courtroom.
10:30 The judge walks in. One of the defense attorneys says that some of the defendants' relatives are still outside. He goes out to check on them and the relatives enter the courtroom.
10:35 The hearings begin.
1. Case 5053/06 Zalach Mufak Halil Tuame is accused of preparing and placing a bomb and of being a member of an illegal organization. Arguments for sentencing stage. Defense attorney is Adnan Raabi.
A plea bargain has been reached in which a 52 months incarceration period is proposed. The prosecutor explains and justifies the plea bargain: the defendant was neither the initiator of the offense, nor the active force behind it, rather he served as a lookout for other people; no damage was done and the defendant was a minor at the time of the offenses. The defendant has a clean record and his confession saved the court valuable time.His accomplices, who were adults at the time of the offenses and had a record of previous offences, all received between 4 and 7 years.
The defense attorney agrees with the prosecutor and adds that the explosive device was of a primitive nature. He also states that the defendant's confession was based on the promise of a plea bargain.
The judge asks the defendant what he plans to do once he completes his sentence, and he replies that he wishes to continue his studies.
The judge accepts the plea bargain, which he states is a little lenient but is within the accepted standard. The judge says he was convinced by the defendant's statement about continuing his studies.
A sentence of 52 months incarceration from the day of the arrest is given together with a probation sentence of 24 months for the next five years.
2. Case 4429/07 Hozifa Hassan Jumaa Abu Mustafa is charged with membership in the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades and with conspiring to plant an explosive device four months before his arrest in 2006.
This is the arraignment stage. Defense attorneys are Muhand Haraz and another attorney.
The defendant pleads not guilty. The proof stage is set for 18.02.08. Prosecution witness will be called.
3. Case 4430/07 - Raami Muhammad Anis Raadi Haled is charged with six different accounts, including conspiracy to commit manslaughter, assisting in the locating of a suicide bomber and membership in the El Aktza Martyr Brigades.
This is the arraignment stage. Defense attorneys are Muhand Haraz and another attorney.
The defendant pleads not guilty. The evidentiary stage is set for 18.02.08. Prosecution witness will be called.
10:50 The case of Omer Haled, which we have been following, begins.
4. Case 2114/07 - Omar Haled Alrauf Mustafa is accused of firing a weapon at a person and of manufacturing and possession of a bomb. Defense attorney is Adnan Raabi.
As mentioned before, a plea bargain has been reached and it is now time for the arguments for the sentencing.
The defendant admits to the revised indictment. The judge makes sure, as he does in other cases, that the defendant understands the charges and understands that the court is not bound by the plea bargain.
The prosecutor presents the plea bargain: 38 months active incarceration, a 2,000 NIS fine and a probation period according to the court's decision. The defendant fired two rounds from an improvised shotgun of questionable affectivity towards a military jeep. The firing was conducted from unclear distance and did not cause any injuries. The defendant was a minor at the time of the offense. His admittance saved a lot of time to the court. The prosecution is satisfied with the punishment, despite it being on the light side.
The defense attorney confirms the statements made by the prosecutor and mentions a number of precedents. He adds that an improvised weapon, as the one used, cannot cause damage to an armored vehicle.
The judge asks the defendant what he wants to do after he finishes his sentence. The defendant replies that he was in school at the time and would like to finish his final year in high school.
11:00 The judge calls a five minute recess. The verdict will be given after the recess. Attorney Raabi talks to the brother of Omar Haled.
11:05 The judge returns.
The judge has decided to approve the plea bargain, although it is on the lenient side; he is basing his approval on a previous decision of the appeals court. The judge stresses the seriousness of the charges: the shooting that took place three months before the arrest, the preparation and storage of a bomb and other explosive devices; the defendant was even involved in attempt to place the explosive devices after their preparation.
The verdict: 38 months incarceration from the day of arrest, a 2,000 NIS fine or two additional months of incarceration and a 24 month probation sentence for five years.
5. Case 2045/07 - Ibrahim Ibrahim Darwish Abu Aiash is charged with conspiracy to cause death. This is the arguments for sentencing stage. The defense attorney is Adnan Raabi.
The two sides have reached a plea bargain. The prosecutor says that there was a well crafted plan to commit the crime, but it was never carried out; the defendant was a minor at the time and his admittance has saved the court time.
The defense attorney adds that an adult defendant charged with the same crime received 42 months incarceration; the defendant was a minor and was used by other adults. The defendant did not understand the seriousness of the crime.
The defendant says that he regrets his actions and apologizes to the court. He was a minor and did not understand the seriousness of his actions and was used by others.
The judge asks the defendant what he plans to do after his release, and the defendant replies that he will go back to live with his parents, since they are all he has.
The judge notes that the defendant was supposed to commit a suicide bombing. The indictment explains the circumstances and the prosecution and defense have reviewed these. He approves the plea bargain.
The verdict: 38 months incarceration starting on 15/09/06 (the date on which the defendant was arrested on different charges), a 2,000 NIS fine or two additional months of incarceration and a 24 month probation sentence.
6. Case 4424/07 - Faras Haled Hamdalla Abu Hagla is charged with the constructing and throwing of a flammable object. This is the arraignment stage. Defense attorney is Adnan Raabi.
The defendant pleads not guilty to the charge that also includes membership in the Islamic Jihad, throwing of rocks towards security forces and the throwing of Molotov cocktails.
The evidentiary stage is set to 04/03/2008.
The defense attorney asks the prosecution to check the defendant's birth certificate, which is registered incorrectly. The correct date is 18/01/90.
A correction will be made to the indictment.
7. Case 1277/07 - Ahmed Abed Alrahim Tufik Aamar is charged with preparing a bomb and two accounts of targeting a military jeep with bombs, and of being a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades. Defense attorney is Riad Aarda
There is an unsigned plea bargain. The defendant pleads guilty to a revised indictment. Arguments for sentencing will be heard at the morning of 24/03/2008.
8. Case 3520/07 - Abed Alrachman Hareb Maaruf Rian is charged with being an active member of the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades. This is the evidentiary stage. Defense attorneys are Muhand Haraz and Shariff from the office of Fares Abu Hassan.
There is a signed plea bargain. The defendant pleads guilty to a revised indictment. The agreed sentence is 12 months incarceration. The prosecutor says that the activity of the defendant was of social nature - he delivered pamphlets. The defendant left the organization on his own accord. He has a clean record and has saved time to the court.
The defense attorney adds that the defendant regrets his actions.
The defendant joins the defense attorney. In answer to a question by the judge regarding his activities before the arrest, he answers that he was a member of the Palestinian security forces.
The judge approves the plea bargain.
The verdict: 12 months active incarceration, a 2,000 NIS fine or a two additional months in prison and a 12 month probation sentence for 5 years.
11:45 We exit and meet with attorney Adnan Raabi outside. He tells us that he was very worried, when the judge broke for recess, that he would reject the plea bargain. According to attorney Raabi, Omar Haled has a good chance of being released in a prisoner exchange. He adds that Omar Haled has been under arrest for a year and there is a good chance that he will have two months reduced from his sentence.