Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Remand Extension, Students
Russian Compound, Monday, 1.12.08
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Shalom Dahan
We attended 4 sessions, all with detainees barred from meeting their attorneys. To his credit, the judge defended our right to be present when the new (to us) Investigator Meshulam, protested, claiming that the hearing was ‘in camera'. The judge also defended our reputation against repeated allegations by Investigator Yacoboff that our reports are not truthful and are replete with invented stories. On the other hand, we were stunned when the same judge demanded that we "not mention our [the judges'] names on the internet because this jeopardizes our security." [The judges? The state's?]
Having sought the advice of our attorneys on this matter, we will continue to publish the names of the judges, as we have done until now.
Tova confronted Yacoboff about his allegations, and asked him to prove that our reports are untruthful.
Detainee: Omar Atta, suspected of being active in Hamas
Defense: Firas Sabah
Investigator: Yitzhak Yacoboff
At first the detainee was not barred from meeting his attorney. Then the investigator went out to check if there was an injunction. The judge, in the meantime, joked that by the time the investigator returned, the detainee would be "barred". And so it was. A short discussion ensued over this matter.
The detainee looked about 30-40 years old. He is from the Ramallah region, a civil servant of the Palestinian Authority. He was arrested in the middle of the night, on 10.11.08. This is his second remand extension hearing. From the exceedingly familiar exchange between Investigator and Defense, it transpires that Omar denies the allegation (activity in Hamas).
The judge, before handing down his decision about remand extension, tried hard to get the sides to agree, even to bargain immediately over the number of remand days. The same happened in subsequent cases, not always successfully.
Detainee: Jihad Ali, suspected of trading in combat materiel
Defense: Ma'amun Hashim
The detainee looks young. He is from the village of Al Jib. The judge wants to know from which side of the [Separation] Fence he comes from, and whether he has an ID card. The investigator explains that the village, though close to the fence, is on the Palestinian side, hence the detainee has a Green ID card.
He was arrested on 26.11.08 in his home. He gave a statement concerning the allegation of trading in combat materiel. He is part of group whose other members (or some of them) appealed to the High Court of Justice and were released.
The session was longer and more exhausting than usual, perhaps because the rookie investigator insisted on being vague, and the defense attorney would not have it. Perhaps it was connected to the secret file: the judge inquired about the word ‘Mafia' which in Hebrew could refer either to the Mob or to a bakery. The answer was given in a whisper.
The judge often led the investigator in his answers. Moreover, Meshulam tried to reach an agreement before the hearing, while we were waiting in the hallway. He suggested a compromise of 15, instead of 20 days. The defense was adamant in its refusal, and a good thing too. The detainee eventually "gained" 4 days, as the judge ruled only 11 days of remand. On the other hand, the judge rejected the defense's motion for an alternative to detention, including guarantors with blue ID cards, so that the detainee could spend the upcoming holiday with his family.
Detainee: Hamed Abu Hamed, suspected of activity in Hamas.
Defense: Ma'amun Hashim
Investigator: Yitzhak Yacoboff
Hamed is a construction worker. This is his first remand hearing since his arrest a week ago. We could not glean any more information from the Investigator's answers, except that the defendant denies all the allegations. The decision was a remand extension, but we do not know for how long.
Detainee: Muhammad Hidmi, a student, resident of Jerusalem.
Suspected of activity in Hamas.
The defense opened with a "preliminary argument" questioning the authority of the military court of Judea and Samaria to prosecute a resident of Jerusalem, who carries a blue Israeli ID card and should therefore be tried in a magistrate court in Jerusalem.
It turns out that the Attorney General has issues a special document warranting the transfer of Jerusalem Palestinians to the military court in the [Occupied] Territories. The judge and the investigator examined the document, which was included in the secret file. Apparently, there was a problem with the date, but the judge said he believed the investigator and overruled the defense's motion.
Muhammad was arrested in his home on 25.11.08. He resides in Wadi Joss and studies religion at Al-Kuds University at Abu Dis. He was arrested because he worships at the Abadin Mosque in his neighborhood and because he studies religion. Throughout the hearing, we were unable to gather any information about the nature and the particulars of the alleged "Hamas activity," except for the fact that he prays regularly and is a student of Islam. Since his arrest, he has been interrogated by the GSS every day.
He denies all the allegations.
Defense: "Trivial charge... belonging to Hamas... Why is he detained?" (The defense could not obtain any information regarding additional charges).
Investigator: "Extremely dangerous Hamas activity...."
At the beginning of the hearing the sides debated the length of the remand extension. Eventually Yacoboff compromised on 12 days.
Defense: "Release him now." Once more, he was right. The detainee benefited: the judge settled on 8 days.