Ofer - Shooting, Holding and trading of combat materiel
Translation: Miriam Erez
The awning at the entrance was empty when we arrived in the morning. Also, there were few people (family of the defendants/detainees) waiting inside the compound.
Two people addressed us outside the courtroom:
One, Na’im Marai, who had come with his elderly mother to the hearing of his brother, Ibrahim Hamad, 43, who has been in administrative detention for 2 years. We explained to Marai that if his brother was an administrative detainee, he and his mother could not be present at his hearing. He asked if his mother could at least see her son. When we left at 13:00, the two were still waiting outside. We tried to connect him with the ‘Center for the Defense of the Individual’.
The second person to address us was Haled Abu-Odeh, the father of
Abdul Rahman Abu-Odeh, 21, who was arrested 4 months ago (the family wasn’t informed for 3 days) and was now charged with stone-throwing in 2002, when he was 15. His incriminators were also arrested.
The following day the father told us that the hearing had been held at 15:00 and that his son had been fined ₪5,000, which the father paid, and the son was released. The father said, “I bought my own son”.
Courtroom no. 2
Judge: Sharon Rivlin-Achai (woman)
Prosecutor: Lt. Aviva Louis (woman)
(There was no connection between the list and the actual hearings held).
Ahmed Fuad Abu-Ziyad
Arguments for punishment
Counsel: Ahmed Safiya
Prosecutor: The accused confessed to two charges: membership in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and passing information. His brother carried out a shooting attack based on information that the defendant gave him. He also gave his brother money. The brother came to the defendant’s house armed with a rifle. The defendant let his brother sleep over and helped him hide the weapon. He also helped him buy a pistol. These are grave actions.
The accused not only gave his brother humanitarian aid, but aided him in militant activity. At the time he was 17. It emerges that there had been a plea bargain at the earlier trial based on which he was sentenced to 33 months in the wake of an appeal by the prosecution to the military court of appeals, which doubled the punishment. The prosecutor asks that the punishment be commensurate with the severity of the crimes.
Defense counsel: I criticize the plea bargain sharply.
Regarding the indictment: the prosecution did not give the court―as it was obligated to do―all the details relevant to the charges, both its severity and its leniency. Unfortunately, the prosecutor’s only interest is to imprison the defendant, instead of doing his job properly.
The crime of sheltering and abetting his brother was committed in 2003, when the accused was a minor. It was not cooperating with a terror act that the brother intended to carry out. In fact, sheltering an outlaw is the more severe of the crimes listed in the indictment. The money that the accused gave his brother was humanitarian aid in every respect, as were the clothes he gave him to change.
Also: the brother did come to the defendant’s home, but it was actually both their home. The defendant is younger than his brother, and in Palestinian society, the younger must honor their elders. The accused did not necessarily know that his brother was armed. There are also cessations to his having given shelter, which comes to prove, that the defendant’s deeds did not cause damage to the state or the region.
The defendant did not actively commit a crime, and this is his first brush with the law. In a case like this one, rehabilitation is of great importace; deterrence in this case is not what is most important. While it is true that the accused is also charged with membership [in an illegal organization], in actual fact, he harmed no one.
Therefore, the full force of the law does not have to be used; rather he should be given another chance. He has already been detained for a year; that’s enough. Perhaps a month or two could be added. The fact that he confessed to the charges proves that he takes responsibility for his actions.
The accused rises and promises not to repeat his actions.
Judge: The verdict will be handed down on March 12.3.08.
Case no. 6074/07
Defense counsel: Ahmad Safiya
Prosecutor: The defendant, as per his confessions, is a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs and attempted kidnapping. He and his comrades planned to kidnap another Palestinian suspected of collaborating [with the occupiers]. They were armed with clubs and a knife, but because of IDF presence in the area, they did not carry out their plan. These are grave charges. I request commensurate punishment.
Defense: The charge of membership refers to 2004. The kidnapping attempt was in 2005. The defendant was arrested in 2007, nearly two years after the first attempt failed, and since that time, has not made another attempt to kidnap the collaborator; since 2005, he has not committed any offense.
The prosecution mentioned precedents from 2001. Why? Because later precedents did not fit the prosecution’s demand for a harsh sentence. Precedents support the argument that his sentence should exceed 16 months' imprisonment.
Judge: A verdict will be handed down on 12.3.08.
Unknown (to us) defendant, no counsel
The judge handed down a verdict on an individual who was sentenced on 9.1.08 for illegal staying in Israel with a false identity. The prosecution agreed to release him on bail, yet because the money was not found, he remained in jail until this very day. It seems that he was simply forgotten there.
At this point, the prosecutor actually agreed that the defendant’s sentence would overlap the time that he sat in jail, yet she is still not willing to skip the fine. The judge, for her part, said that the two months that the defendant sat in jail for nothing should be accepted in lieu of the fine and added, that in light of the circumstances, “the prosecution agrees in fairness to make do with the time he already served…” She also sentenced him to 4 months jail on probation for a period of 3 years.
Case no. 3639/07
Defense counsel: Firas
Judge: It’s a long verdict. She will refer only to the relevant points. Accepts the prosecution’s opinion that for 3 years the defendant proved identification with Hamas ideology. Had he only engaged in election campaign activity, it could have been considered as civilian activity, except that in 2006, he became the Hamas spokesperson in his village, which constitutes the offense of “holding a position”. He was involved in grave activity of Hamas, which champions Israel’s destruction.
Considers the young age of the defendant, a lawyer by profession, and the fact that he regrets his acts. “Therefore I sentence him to 22 months incarceration to be counted from his arrest, 30 months jail on probation for 5 years, and 5,000 shekels fine, or 3 more months in jail.
The defendant looks stunned at the severity of the sentence. He was imprisoned for a year, and now he has to serve one more. He exchanges a farewell glance with his young wife who is attending the hearing.