Ofer - Stone Throwing, Incriminators

Observers: 
Judith Sternberg, Mili Mass (reporting)
Oct-19-2010
|
Morning

Translation: Marganit W.


Appeal in the conviction of Ahmad Na'fa, 39, resident of Ni'ilin.

Judge: Lieutenant Colonel Netanel Benishu

Prosecutor: Refused to give his name (we later found out it is Eran Levi, legal officer)

Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati

On 29.9.10, after serving eight and half months in jail for throwing rocks and a Molotov cocktail during a demonstration in Ni'lin, Mr. Na'fa was acquitted. The prosecution is appealing this ruling.

For background see Amira Hass's article:

http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/the-grocery-list-of-the-shin-bet-and-the-idf-1.263587

The hearing:

As a new recruit on the court watch team, I could not help noticing some external trappings such as the symbol of the military court, where the sward and the olive branch (the army insignia) cover the scales of justice. I also noted how the security guards control every aspect of the process. Atty. Ramati asked Mr. Ra'fa - who was dressed in civilian clothes as befits a free man - to sit next to him, as is the custom. The guard forbade it (as soon as the hearing began, the judge naturally acceded to the defense's request that Mr. Na'fa sit with him). The guard told us to sit in the back of the hall, even though it was completely empty.

The prosecutor was appealing a previous court ruling, which concluded that the witness who had incriminated  Mr. Na'fa was unreliable.

(see report concerning the incriminator, Amira, in:

http://www.machsomwatch.org/en/ofer_thu_18_2_10_morning  )

The prosecutor contested the court's conclusion that Mr. Amira had suffered head injury (claiming that the court was unqualified to make such medical observations), and argued against the court's decision that the witness was inconsistent, and changed his version according to the different interrogators. The prosecutor wanted to use a video showing the demolition of the Ni'ilin fence, arguing that even though Mr. Na'fa is not seen in the video, it is surely a pattern of behavior that Mr. Na'fa exhibited in previous incidents.

Atty. Ramati contested all these allegations of the prosecution. 3 issues stand out:

1. The demolition of the fence occurred on the date commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall, thus it is a one-time event, not a ‘pattern of behavior'.

2. The GSS refused to disclose the evidence, thus undermining the defense.

3. The protocol of the GSS interrogation is almost identical to the report of the police interrogation, even though it contains a list of 17 suspects. It is hard to believe that a witness could repeat verbatim all 17 names. Thus, there is a strong suspicion that one report is a copy of the other.

It was our impression that the appeal would be rejected. Apparently, the appeal was motivated by the military prosecution's need to maintain and defend the trustworthiness of Mustafa Amira, who has already incriminated forty people, all now incarcerated. Turning down the appeal may undermine the reliability of Mustafa Amira and consequently bring the release of the other detaineesinfo-icon he helped put in jail.