Ofer - Remand Extension
Translation: Diana Runbanenko
This report is composed of two reports. One, from 27.12.10, contains a section from the Russian Compound report, and the second – from 29.12.10. Combining the two reports sheds light on the course of events.
Russian Compound, 27.12.10 AM
Judge: Yehuda Liblein
A very unpleasant atmosphere hovers over the small remand-extensions room at the Russian Compound. The attorney of the detainee, 16 and four months of age, is Ismail Tawil, who has no permit to enter Israel, and so Att. Aamer is replacing him.
Abdullah Hashem Abdullah Jabara – ID 936110626
Aged 17, he is accused of disturbing the public order in Turmus Ida.
The police requests extension of remand by 15 days. Abdulla was arrested on 6.12.10. This is his third remand extension.
In this case too, Att. Aamer is substituting for Att. Tawil. He asks questions that ought to help him understand the case, and the specific accusations.
The investigator’s replies are monotonous, laconic and predictable: the investigation is at its height, everything is in the confidential report which is at the court’s disposal.
Att. Aamer tries to penetrate the wall of confidentiality, but without success, even when he requests the distinguished judge’s intervention.
Before his summation, Att. Naji asks to have recorded in the court minutes that (in my words): it is the right of the defence to obtain an answer to questions, in order to understand the reasonableness of the period sought [for extending remand]. It injures the suspect’s rights to a proper defence. Since all our questions are referred to the confidential report, there is actually no point to the questions raised by the defence. As a result, I have no other option than to proceed to the summation.
The investigator requests 15 more days.
The defence asks to take into account that the suspect has already been in custody for 21 days, undergoing an investigation “in progress” regarding the charge of disturbing the public order. Now the police is seeking a further extension – which is unconscionable. It is an injury to the rights of the accused, whereas the court is meant to safeguard his rights.
The judge sums up what he has learned from the confidential file and rules: another 7 days investigation – a third remand-extension for disturbing the public order.
Muhammad Radwan Jabara – IS 860146497
Muhammad is 16 and four months old. This is his first remand extension.
Att. Aamer represents him on behalf of Att. Tawil.
The investigator is requesting 15 more days. Att. Aamer does not use his right to question. He seems to have decided there is no point in asking, when the answers are known in advance. He proceeds to his summation.
Att. Aamer asks to decrease the number of days of the investigation, because throughout the whole period of the investigation there will not be any judicial criticism, and the detainee is close to being a minor. [In the Occupied Territories, a minor is up to the age of 16 – in Israel, up to the age of 18].
The judge’s summation: He read the case and learnt from it that the ‘almost minor’ admitted to having been involved in activity against regional security. He relies on the confidential report. Since the youth is almost a minor, the judge acceded only partially to the request by the police, and ruled: 11 days extension of remand to investigate the offence.
Ofer Military Court, 29.12.10 AM
Courtroom 3 – Court of Appeals
Judge: Col. Aharon Mishnayot
Defence: Att. Naji Aamer; throughout the deliberations,
Att. Ismail A-Tawil was seated next to him
Prosecutor: Police Officer Eran Levy
Appeal to remand extension of Abdullah Hashem Abdullah Jabara – Case no. 2816/10, ID 936110626
Defence counsel Naji Aamer argues that all his questions pertaining to extending the remand in the Russian Compound were met with “The answer is in the confidential file”. He does not understand the details of the charges. The court determined in the past that it is not enough to state the nature of the offence – ‘disturbing the public order’; they must say what is attributed to the offender, on what dates, what place – in other words, they must provide details. It is in the public’s interest to hear the details and the attorney’s right to know what the authorities ascribe to his client. The court must oversee the investigation... a long remand intensifies psychological pressure on the suspects and leads to false confessions... if the interrogation continues endlessly, then ultimately someone or something else crops up – because other people were interrogated...
Fine words, indeed. So where has this magnificent militant who praises human rights appeared from? Well, we realise that this fighter for detainees’ rights was, until one year ago, in charge of the prosecution at the Ofer Military Court. He took off his uniform, donned a judge’s gown, and is now defending the detainees whom he previously jailed – and is making a living thereby. And he has a partner too: Ismail A-Tawil who has no permit to enter Israel, so he brings his clientele from the Occupied Territories, and Naji Aamer is their defence counsel in the detention facility at the Russian Compound. Afterwards, when they come for trial at Ofer, where Attorney A-Tawil is permitted to enter, the two sit side-by-side. But Att. Aamer denies to us that they are partners. No, no, he says. No, he isn’t my partner.
Haven’t they heard, at the Military Prosecution, about a cooling-off period?
I maintain that they are birds of a feather.
The Palestinians think that his military past and the good connections of Attorney Aamer in the military prosecution will help him to obtain better plea-bargain cases. Maybe it’s true, maybe not.
For example, we presented the previous excerpt from the Russian Compound on purpose. This nice pair, Aamer and A-Tawil, are defending both Abdullah Jabara and Muhammad Radwan Jabara. One of them incriminated the other, we couldn’t follow exactly, and the court was very angry, and also reproved Attorney Aamer for this conflict of interests.
The next hearing was scheduled for 7.2.11, but it can be assumed that the case will be concluded in a plea bargain, well before that date.