Ofer - Stone Throwing, Sentence

Observers: 
Tamar Fleischman, Hagit Shlonsky (first report) and Norah Orlow (second report)
Sep-15-2010
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Morning

Translation: Marganit W.


Courtroom 5

The last detainee I saw at Ofer today was brought in a little before 3 PM. He came in for remand extension before Judge Shlomo Katz (who does NOT specialize in juvenile cases). The boy, who is probably 13 years old, looks like a 7 year old. His name is Muhammad and he is from Beit Ur. He was arrested on 13.9.10 in the morning (probably before dawn) and was brought in handcuffed and in prison garb and not accompanied by a lawyer or a member of his family. The prosecutor (Tamar) requested a 5-day remand extension, an indictment by Sunday and extension of the detention until the conclusion of the proceedings.

To tell the truth, the judge looked uncomfortable (perhaps because of my presence there: I was the only one in court in civilian clothes). He dispatched the interpreter to look for an attorney. When one could not be located, he decided to extend the detention until 3 o'clock tomorrow. "I examined the file... there is a witness who testifies that the child threw rocks [It's the soldier who caught him] and I am bound by previous rulings..."

The judge allowed the child to have five phone calls to notify his family.

I was unable to reach Ayad Misk (a lawyer who specializes in minors), but I immediately called DCI (Defense of Children International) and reported the details of the case. Misk just called. He'll be in court tomorrow when the child is brought in.

This story really shook me because it dwarfs anything that we have seen before.

There were 27 cases in the docket: most were not discussed; arrangement were made without the detaineesinfo-icon' participation.  They were brought in and out, often five of them huddling together on the defendants' bench. Some hearings were postponed at the request of the defense or because the prosecution witnesses did not show up or for reasons unknown to us.

The hearing of Hamad Ahmed Hamad Abu Maria 43992/09 was put off to the afternoon session (for earlier reports on this case see Ofer 28.6.10, 21.7.10, 4.8.10).  Hamad is charged with membership and activity in an organization affiliated with "Islamic Jihad". He was a member of a combat unit. As part of the unit's activity he threw rocks once a week at Beit Ummar. An attempt by Yizhar Beer to talk the judge into changing the detention into probation with his (Beer's) as guarantor and sponsor failed: the judge stuck to the agreement reached between the prosecution and the defense for 16 months in jail (of which 6 remain) and 6-month suspended sentence for two years, plus a 2000 shekel fine.

Courtroom 2.

(observer: Norah Orlow)

Sentencing stage of the trial of Abdallah Mahmud Muhammad Abu Rahma - ID 997446703, case No.5327/09.

Resident of Ramallah, one of the leaders of the struggle in Bil'in against the separation fence.

Judge: Major Etty Adar

Prosecutor: Captain Itai Amos. [prior to the hearing, the officer in charge of military prosecution went in and out: no doubt he must have personally handled this case]

Defense: Atty. Gaby Lasky

(Let it be noted that the best interpreter in the system was assigned to this case)

Apart from me, there were more than 20 other people in the audience, among them the defendant's wife, his brother, several diplomats from the European Union, Human Rights activists and a reporter/photographer from The Tel-Aviv paper, "Ha-Ir".

Jonathan Pollack, spokesman for the "Popular Struggle Against the Separation Fence" wrote an extensive report on this hearing. Here is the link (with his  permission):

http://www.popularstruggle.org/content/military-prosecution-demands-more-two-years-imprisonment-bilins-abdallah-abu-rahmah

The link for the protocol (Hebrew):

http://www.popularstruggle.org/sites/default/files/abdallah.sentencing.phase.15092010.pdf

We also recommend visiting the site "Popular Struggle Against the Wall":

http://www.popularstruggle.org/