Ofer - Sentence, Membership/activity in unauthorized association

Observers: 
Ilana Hammerman, Roni Hammermann (reporting)
Mar-1-2009
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Morning

Ilana Hammerman, Roni Hammermann (reporting)

Room 5

Judge: Israel Levy

The list with the names of the defendants outside the court room was completely soaked by the rain and disintegrated in our hands, so that we could not read anything.

The first case concerned our acquaintance from the village Hussan, Said Al Hamana, 20 years old and arrested since 17.02.09. The army invaded the village in the middle of the night, pulled Said and several other young men out from their beds, did not give them time to dress properly and concentrated them in the village square. After having waited there for an hour or two in the rain, they were taken to the detention center of

Kfar Etzyion for interrogation, while no-one  informed their parents about their whereabouts. Said is charged with membership & activity in an unauthorized organization, the ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine'. 4 witnesses of the prosecution are named in the indictment. The defense attorney from Adameer,

Firas Sabah, declared readiness for a plea bargain, and the next hearing was scheduled for 1.4.09. In 5 minutes the hearing was over.

The next 2 hearings were about the same indictment as in the case of Said: membership & activity in the ‘Popular Front'. Defense lawyer Lubani from Nadi el Assir asked to release his clients, since they denied the charges and since the witnesses knew only by hearsay of the accused's involvement in the ‘Popular Front'.

The judge dismissed Lubani's request and declared that the Popular Front is a dangerous enemy organization, and that there was reasonable evidence to justify detention until the end of proceedings.

Another case was interesting insofar, as it involved an 18 year old youngster, who only attempted to climb over  the Jerusalem fence, lifted the barbed wire, was wounded and caught by the border police. The young man declared that he only wanted to visit his aunt in Jerusalem, who is very sick.

His mother and another relative were present in court. The relative got up from his seat and asked the judge for mercy. The boy is the only working person in the family, the mother has cancer and has to undergo complicated treatment. As long as the boy will be in prison, there will be nobody to feed the family.

This softened the prosecutor and she was ready to negotiate. She asked for medical documents of the mother, and when she received them she agreed to show leniency.

The judge commuted the sentence to time served (1 1/2 months) + 500 IS.