Ofer - Students

Observers: 
Norah Orlow, Hagith Shlonsky
Dec-6-2007
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Morning

Courtroom 4

To our dismay, we didn't arrive on time for the deliberation about the detention of Fadi Hamed - the head of the students' organization at Bir Zeit - who was detained 10 days ago. In spite of the commitment we received from the secretariat of the court at Ofer, today, as often happens, there were no lists of the deliberations taking place in the different courtrooms. By the time we succeeded in finding the courtroom, the deliberation was over. According to the website of the students' organization at Bir Zeit, mentioned below, Fadi Hamed was sentenced to one year of imprisonment.
 

Fadi Hamed is represented by Elia Theodory; the next meeting is set for 22.01.08

Read about Fadi Hamed's detainment and the detainment of other activists from the students' organizations on the site: 

http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/news/article505
http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/news/article506

At this time, we learned that the man responsible for public appeals at Ofer, (the contact for receiving the proceedings lists when they are missing from the courtrooms) has been changed. Instead of Wafi Chanifas, Baha Tarabi has been appointed.

Courtroom 3: Appeals

An appeal by the prosecution is taking place in the trial of Hassan Yusef Daud Dar Halil (Case # 4662/07) who is detained in a Prison Services facility (we don't know which one).

A panel of three judges: Aharon Mishniot, Natanel Benishu, Eli Wolf

The prosecutor on duty (name?) is backed up by Erez Hasson, the head of the prosecution, and a man from the General Security Services (Shabak) sits next to him, in civilian clothes.

The defense is represented by Attorney Ahmed Safya (from Bulus's office). There are no family members present.

Hassan Halil's trial took place in 2005 and ended with his release. He was detained again and was tried in 2007 (see the report from our observation of 20.02.07, on the website), and ended with his acquittal on some of the charges. The prosecutor tries to convince the court that the accused holds an important position in the Hamas. For this purpose, he brings the statements of two witnesses questioned by the General Security Services (Shabak), (Abu Asab, Azam Bargouti), who testify that Hassan Yusef Halil is a Hamas spokesman in the West Bank. The prosecutor establishes that "the accused has a more important status than the IDF spokesman; He is a political activist of the first rank, a prominent agitator.....accused for the 5th and 6th time of activity in a forbidden organization....Our primary objective is....to keep him away from the public. That is the way to fight the Hamas."

Erez Hasson, in charge of the prosecution, requests to continue the deliberation behind closed doors with a cross-examination by a member of the General Security Services: "I don't want to look at MachsomWatch's website tomorrow and read about the Shabak's method of interrogation which has been divulged there, or read about a specific component relating to public security which has been revealed. I would like this to be conducted behind closed doors."

One of the judges emphasizes the importance of preserving the principle of public discussion and requests that Hasson clarify the objective of deliberation behind closed doors when confidential documents are being used (which enable the General Security Services not to reveal confidential information when it is not in their interest to do so).

Hasson determines: a) public security is not ensured by the confidential documents because, during the cross-examination, methods of interrogation used by the General Security Services might be revealed which could cause it damage. b) public discussion would not be damaged because we are dealing only with those few cases in the deliberation where there is an interrogation by a General Security Services member. 
c) deliberation behind closed doors does not cause damage to the accused.  Hasson continues, and speaks about the dangers of electronic dissemination of records. He stands by the fact that it must be ensured in advance, by closed doors, that a witness may speak securely, because what is brought up during the testimony in a legal process is never clear in advance. He requests that a decision in principle be made by the court.

During the deliberation, Hason claims that the punishment for the offense of membership in a forbidden organization is not sufficient. The usual punishment for this activity is 20 months yet this man repeats his actions over and over again; therefore, his punishment should be harsher.

The defense attorney demands that the prosecution submit the confidential information in writing. He request time to reply; he needs to bring precedents.

The next deliberation is set for 13.12.07 at 10:00.