Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Remand Extension, Conditions of Detention
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Adrian Agassi
Police Prosecutor: Itzik Yaakoboff
Only six remand cases in the docket, three of them, we know, are barred from meeting with their attorneys.
Due to conditions in the court (often described in our reports) we can barely see the detainees, except perhaps a glimpse of the chains on their ankles. When they speak, we can hear their voices, but we cannot catch their names, as they are hurriedly blurted out. Thus, we cannot cite the detainees' names in our report.
First Detainee - Represented by Salah Ayub. There is an agreement, i.e., the detainee, through his attorney, agrees to the requested remand extension.
Decision: Remand extension for 9 days.
Second Detainee - Represented by Fahmi Shakirat. Same as the first case: Agreement and remand extension for 9 days.
Third Detainee - Barred from meeting with his attorney.
Defense: Firas Sabah.
We were told to leave the court. We did not comply. The Prosecutor explains to the judge that the hearing is confidential and therefore he objects to our presence: whatever is said in the court is later posted on the internet, and this can compromise the investigation. (This really boosts my self-esteem: they ascribe to me so much power at the Russian Compound!) Mr. Yaakoboff claims that our reports are full of inaccuracies.
Our suggestion that he contact us to correct our mistakes is disdainfully rejected.
We went outside and waited for the judge to ponder the question. We walked back in when the judge was dictating his decision: he rejected the prosecutor's motion to force us out of the court while the attorney of "barred" detainees pleads their case. Great! We remained in the court, but nothing dramatic happened subsequently.
-What is the charge against him?
- Membership in a hostile organization.
-It is in the confidential file.
-Has he been interrogated?
-Yes, by the GSS
-It's in the confidential file.
-Is he suspected of military activity?
-All the aspects are being investigated.
-Did he have accomplices?
-Can't answer this question.
In his summation the investigator says: There are serious allegations... I move that the court accede to the remand request....
In his summation the defense attorney says: I move that the court use its authority to abbreviate the detention...
Decision: remand extension for 11 days.
Fourth Detainee - Attorney Fahmi Shakirat.
The hearing and the discussion are similar, almost identical, to the preceding ones, but the judge, who apparently has read the file, wants to know if the detainee has something to say before he hands down his decision. The detainee says that he has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest. He has several health issues, and since yesterday at 2 PM he has been chained to his bed, hands and feet shackled, unable to move. This is shocking. Why was he treated thus? The guards and investigators surmised that he might "hurt himself."
The judge asks the detainee if he suffers from mental illness. He does not.
Has he been seen by a social worker? Yes. [How absurd! A young man is dragged out of his home at midnight, held in solitary confinement for two weeks, undergoes interrogations, and then a social worker is sent to check his mental state.]
Someone must have told his jailers that he requires supervision, so he was chained to his bed. Excellent surveillance, indeed!
The judge, to his credit, requires a detailed report of the suspect's mental state.
Thus we watched the hearings of another detainee and two "barred" detainees.
Before leaving we asked the judge for the protocol stating that we are allowed to remain in court while defense attorneys for "barred" detainees plead for shorter detentions. The judge did not give us the protocol saying he had to be careful, adding that we can appeal to the Chief Justice to request the protocol.
Attorney Firas, who represented the detainee, said that the police prosecutor had asked him not to give us the protocol.
We took the matter to our own lawyer and will pursue it.