Petah Tikva - Remand Extension
Translation: Jonathan M.
Judge: Major Adi Feigel
Prosecutor: Atef Awida
Defense Lawyers: Attorneys Mahajna, Aabed and Cabha
Two military policemen carrying light arms standing at the end of the court.
Today there were hearings for 15 detainees regarding remand in custody, 4 of them were barred from meeting with a lawyer.
The hearings started at 10:10 am. The first suspect was already sitting in the courtroom. The judge was questioning the guards why the suspects had not arrived on time; he then dictated for 10 minutes to the court clerk future court procedures that were to be followed by everyone (including the head of the detention centre) in future hearings.
Most of the hearings lasted between 15-20 minutes. We learned that some of the suspects were to be transferred to the Ashkelon prison, where there is a special cell with "planted" detainees who would try to gather incriminating information from the suspects.
One suspect, a medical student, has been barred from meeting a lawyer for 23 days; the prosecutor was asking to extend the prohibition for another 6 days. The judge wanted to make it clear that barring the suspect does not, under any circumstance, cast blame on the defense attorneys who perform their jobs with merit. Barring a suspect from meeting with a lawyer is a method to protect an ongoing investigation or to prevent danger for regional security, not a goal in itself. "I emphasize this because I am not sure this is always understood by the defense attorneys." Custody was extended for 8 days.
Another suspect is accused of not answering interrogators' questions and thus slowing down the progress of the investigation. The judge says that it is certainly the right of the suspect not to answer questions, but that he shouldn't be surprised if this prolongs the investigation. The suspect complained that there were no Koran's in the detention facility and asked to get one. The judge instructs the prison authoriy to provide him with a Koran.
A different suspect was arrested in his cab on the Alenbi crossing while taking passengers. He was taken out of the cab and brought to the detention center; the keys to his cab were held by the investigating authorities. He asked the judge to ensure the keys are given to the defense attorney in order to pass them on to the family. The judge does so.
The next suspect was also arrested at the Alenbi crossing when returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca. Attorney Mahajna wonders why he was not arrested when he left. Was there any information about him before he left for Kuwait? This is of course part of the confidential file and cannot be discussed since it might "expose the investigation methods and compromise the continuation of the investigation. The answers to those questions are, therefore, kept in classified files."
The last suspect is Dr. Ghassan Sharif Haled from Jayyous/Nablus, a Doctor of law at the University of Al Najach. He teaches law and is a human rights activist who meets with lawyers and civil rights activists from all over the world, including from Israel. Many Israelis have been coming to his house without any problems. He is barred from meeting with a lawyer. This morning an appeal that was filed in his name to the Supreme Court was rejected. The GSS claims that he is a Hammas member and the head of
Al-Kutla Al-Islamia. The suspect denies the charges. The judge, of course, approves remand in custody for 15 days.