Ofer - Shooting
Translation: Miriam Erez
When we arrived, a lot of people were waiting for their hearings. We asked around among the lawyers, and they told us that a lot of released detainees were to be tried today. There was a bottleneck at the entrance next to the turnstile, where everyone has to pass through a metal detector and get checked by soldiers.
The soldiers “welcomed” us today with plastic bags labeled with tags on which were written the bag’s ID number, into which we had to put our cell phones (some of the bags had sweaters in them). The bags were placed into two cubbyholes which contained a messy pile of bags.
We continued on to the entrance, where we had to be body-searched, for which there was a long line. A few people where taken out from the line to be searched immediately, as the hearing of their relative was about to start. We waited for 20 minutes.
After being body-searched, we entered the inner courtyard where family members are waiting. This courtyard has a door, which today was locked and guarded by a soldier, who opened it to allow people to enter the courtroom when their case was called, or to use the bathroom.
Hearings were held today in courtrooms no. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7.
No. 3 serves for appeals, and no. 7 for remand extensions.
We entered courtroom no.1, where eight cases were being heard, of which we observed two:
Case Nr. 2092/07 – Hamsa Ahmed Hassan Bargouti
Case Nr. 5175/05 – Mutna Marwan Ahmed Maloch(i.d. 910761121)
There was a panel of 3 judges: Tzvi Lekach (presiding), Ronen Atzmon, and Ben-Dor (a reservist).
In the two hearings we observed, the defense counsel was Ahmed Safiya.
Defendants’ relatives were present in the courtroom.
During Bargouti’s hearing, there was almost no translation into Arabic. At a certain point, the defendant asked to to get an explanation about what was happening, at which point the interpreter “woke up” and started working.
During the second hearing, Judge Lekach reprimanded the interpreter several times, until finally he sent the interpreter out and replaced him.
Bargouti’s charge: attempted murder.
We entered as the hearing was in full swing. The defense counsel complained that five minutes before the hearing, the prosecution presented new material that was previously not known to the defense. All three judges tried to convince the defense counsel to ignore this new material, arguing that it didn’t change anything, and instructed him to “get on with what we have”. The defense counsel didn’t buy it.
The argument that Bargouti would not be harmed without the new material also didn’t convince Safiya, who insisted that the material could indeed affect his line of defense, and that ignoring it would harm his client. Judge Lekach saw agreed to postpone the hearing, and noted the defense counsel’s insistence in the minutes, as well as the prosecution’s error, which was failure to submit evidence on time.
The next hearing was set for 20.5.08.
The charge against Maloch: Shooting a person.
This trial has been going on for a long time. Today’s hearing focused on Maluch’s involvement in the incident, which according to the defense counsel, consisted of supplying ten bullets whose intended use was not against a person or vehicle, but rather a bulletproof structure (a military post). The question being examined was whether there was intent to kill.
The prosecution and the defense presented their arguments.
Not date was yet set for the next hearing.