Ofer - Stone Throwing, Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
An attorney informs us that today 160 (!) detainees have been brought to trial; they are housed in 6 (!) cage like holding places, waiting for their day in court. Accordingly, the number of family members present in the court compound today is inordinately high.
Besides, the hearings of the Bil'in detainees continue here today. They began two days ago (See Ofer report of 5.8.09).
For the past four and a half years the inhabitants of Bil'in have been waging a battle against the separation wall, whose construction resulted in the expropriation of 50% of the agricultural land of the village. In 2007 the High Court of Justice ruled that the site of the wall was illegal and it needs to be moved, but to date this decision has not been carried out. Every Friday a non-violent demonstration takes place in Bil'in, as the villagers attempt to reach their fields beyond the wall in order to till them. Every week the army uses every means at its disposal to push back the demonstrators. The Palestinians are determined to continue their struggle.
Lately, however, it seems that the army is fed up with the prolonged confrontation and has decided to crush the villagers of Bil'in.
Thus, there have lately been several nightly raids on the village, in which men and boys were either abducted and detained. The goal, it seems, is to capture the leaders of the Popular Committee Against the Wall.
On Monday 3.8.09, before dawn, the army entered the village and abducted
7 people from their homes, among them a couple of youths charged with throwing rocks at the soldiers.
At present, the army is detaining 17 people at Ofer detention facility.
We attended the remand hearings of several of these men:
1. Issa Mahmud Abu Rahma - ID 954903647
2. Abdulla Ahmed Issa Yassin - ID 850836586
3. Haled Shwachet Abed Alrazak Alhatib - ID 911065944
4. Mustafa Shwachet Abed Alrazak - ID 853889236 (minor)
5. Muhammad Shwachet Abed Alrazak Alhatib - ID 85475044 (minor)
6. Abdulla Muhamad Ali Yassin - ID 854414786
7. Muhammad Abd Alkarim Mustafa Alhatib - ID 85161053
Judge: Captain Amir Dahan
Prosecutor: Captain Yael Bar Yosef (District of Yehuda Chief Prosecutor )
Defense: Atty. Neri Ramati (from the law firm of Gaby Lasky)
The detainees are charged with throwing rocks at soldiers.
Muhamad Hatib and Issa Abu Rahma are members of the Popular Committee, which leads the struggle against the illegally built wall. They are charged not only with rock throwing but also with sedition and incitement to throw rocks.
The detainees were brought into the courtroom, where there were 3 family members from Bil'in, but all they heard was the decision from the day before (Ofer report of 5.8.09). The hearing was to resume in the afternoon.
We went to talk to the three women from Bil'in, who told us how their children were abducted on the night of 3.8.09. The boys were taken from their beds while the rest of the family were locked in one room. One mother described how a soldier held a knife to her 16-year-old son's throat, threatening to kill him if he did not disclose his brother's location. Three of her sons are now in custody (16,18 and 23 years old). Another woman has a 16 year old in detention, and a third is the wife of Issa Abu Rahma, (40 years old and a member of the Popular Committee).
The hearings continued in the afternoon, and Judge Dahan, with both sides agreeing, decided to extend the remand until 2:00 o'clock on Sunday, 9.8.09, in order to complete the investigation.
In the meantime we found out that the detainees will not be released on Sunday. Their detention has been prolonged by several days.
We will report on further developments.