Salem - Remand Extension, Minors
Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham
We northerners have been acquainted with B. for years. He is a pleasant, ambitious man, who works in a factory that has moved from Israel to the seamline zone. His work is appreciated. When one meets him coming home from work, his face is dark with fatigue.
He never complains, and is always respectful.
About one month ago B. called to inform us that his nephew, Mohammed Bassam Yehiyeh had been arrested. "He's a good boy," said B. "I keep an eye on him; don't let him run around with kids, he didn't do anything wrong." He asked us to help. He hoped that his innocence would be proven and that he would be released.
The nephew was arrested at night, and three weeks went by without anyone knowing what had happened to him. His remand had been extended, and B. said that the trial would take place on Sunday, 26.4.09.
The pile of files in the courtroom - each representing a person - almost hides the prosecutor.
Most of the accused are young people, and many are minors.
I counted a total of 11soldiers and people from the Prison Services in the courtroom, all young people "doing their duty." They are not listening to what is being said in the trial and are not looking at the detainees, only "doing their duty" - removing handcuffs, replacing them, making sure there is no contact between the detainees and their families, and removing them quickly from the courtroom so that everything will be conducted quickly and efficiently.
Indeed everything is efficient and quick. I have not noted names since I did not receive a list and had difficulty hearing anything. I'm not sure that I am reporting the sentences precisely.
Here are several examples:
There are many cases of extension of remand.
Hearings regarding illegal presence in Israel of Palestinians whose permits have been revoked. One says that his son needs an operation and he borrowed money that must be returned. He admits having committed the offence.
Others talk about economic hardships and the need to earn a living for their large families.
A young man whose family did not come to the hearing asks to inform his family where he is.
A man is accused of having used a forged ID card.
A youth is accused, and the hearing is postponed for a month.
Another young man's remand is extended. His little brother sends him a heartfelt kiss.
One man is accused of having attempted to enter Israel without a permit, which is not a security related crime; he is not a member in a hostile organization, has no previous record, but has eight children. He asks for a lenient sentence. He receives 40 days imprisonment and probation, plus a fine of NIS 800. He has difficulty earning a living for his family, but will pay the fine.
A man accused of holding combat materiel admits to the accusation. He gets 3 months imprisonment and a fine of NIS 1000.
A man is accused of being involved with a plot that was never carried out; he did not receive any weapon and did not initiate any action; he has no previous record. He admits to the accusation, and saves the court time.
He gets 4 months' imprisonment and probation.
A large group of minors is brought into the courtroom.
One boy is represented by an Israeli attorney who claims that according to Israeli law a child his age cannot be tried at all. He is a high school student, and his father is angry at him. The child gets two and a half months imprisonment.
The youths are looking for the faces of their mothers and fathers, mothers are weeping, and their young siblings are excited, waving happily and blowing kisses to their detained brothers.
The continuation of the trial of B.'s nephew Mohammed Bassam Yehieh will be on Thursday, 30.4.09.
The trial of the teacher who was arrested at the Shaked-Tura Checkpoint on Monday, 27.4.09, may take place the same day.