Ofer - Release on Bail, Stone Throwing
AM and PM
Translation: Marganit W.
This is the month of Ramadan, so the court operates on a restricted schedule, dealing only with urgent or special cases. Most other hearings will take place after Ramadan. This is done in order to make it easier for Palestinians who fast during this month. Thus, there were few hearings today, and consequently few visitors.
Present in court, however, were supporters of the Bil'in detainees, among them relatives of the two defendants, Luisa Morgantini, former Deputy-President of the European Union, the former foreign affairs minister of Iceland, the director of Iceland's theater , friends of the detainees and myself.
Two volunteers from the International Solidarity Movement were not admitted to the compound because their requests were submitted only last night.
Note to one and all: Since the court is situated in a military zone, anyone wishing to attend the hearings needs to apply to the Public Affairs Officer of the court 24 hours in advance.
Yes, the hearings are indeed public, but entrance to them is controlled.
(see earlier reports of hearings of Bil'in detainees, 5.8.09/6.8.09. )
The first hearing was in Judge Major Arye Dorni's court.
Defendant: Adeeb Ahmed Hassan Abu Rahme - Case No. 3336/09,
(ID. 954902771), resident of Bil'in.
Prosecutor: Captain Adi Noy
Defense: Atty. Neri Ramati (from Gaby Lasky's law firm).
Visitors: admitted only after the attorney appealed to the judge.
Adeeb Rahme has been detained at Ofer for five weeks now. His request to be released on bail was rejected; he is to remain in custody until the conclusion of the proceedings.
The prosecutor states that following the defense's arguments and the judge's decision, a revised indictment has been prepared. In the revised version the charge of "solicitation to throw rocks" [during the weekly demonstrations at Bil'in] has been deleted, but the charge of "incitement to throw rocks" remains. Apparently there is a difference between the two, as the attorney explained to me.
Defense: We deny the charges in the indictment, except for the fact that the defendant was present at several non violent demonstrations against the separation wall.
He asks to conclude the legal process in one session, if possible.
But the prosecution has already summoned 7 witnesses from Bil'in (4 of them are minors, already in custody, and a photographer from Bil'in who recorded one of the demonstrations.)
Two dates are set for these evidentiary hearings:
30.8.09 at 13:00
13.9.09 at 13:00
The defendant protests: Such a long delay?! I want to go home. I have 5 children!
The hearing of the second detainee took place after the break and began at 14:30.
Suspect: Muhammed Ibrahim Abu Rahme - prosecution case No. 2931/09, resident of Bil'in, 47 years old.
Judge: Captain Naphthali Shmulevitz
Prosecutor: Captain Orit Pargi
Defense: Atty. Neri Ramati (from Gaby Lasky's law firm)
The defendant's wife and nephew are present in court.
On the night of 20.8.09 the army raided the village of Bil'in, arresting Muhammed Abu Rahme (Abu Nizar), deputy-mayor and member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall. He was yanked from his bed, beaten and taken to a jeep waiting at the edge of the village. A photographer shooting the incident was also beaten and the soldiers smashed his camera.
Five days earlier, the army had arrested Abu Nizar's 14 year old son, Nashmi Abu Rahme, for throwing rocks (the boy was released a few days ago).
The prosecutor agrees to release Abu Rahme on 10,000 shekel bail, provided he reports every Friday morning [that's when the demonstrations take place] at the police station, the same decision as in the Muhammed Hatib's (3599/09) hearing a week ago.
The defense requests mitigation of the conditions of release. This case differs from the one cited by the prosecution. He points out that the man who incriminated Abu Rahme lied in his testimony against Muhammed Hatib: he identified him as a rock thrower during the demonstration, at a time when the suspect was abroad. This is not a case of incitement, the attorney adds.
The judge's decision: ...I came to the conclusion that the circumstances [in Case No. 3599/09] are not consistent with the case at hand. In view of his age and his clean record... the defendant can be released under these conditions:
- - 5000 shekel bail.
- - Two Israeli guarantors, each to deposit 5000 shekels.
- - The defendant must not participate in events of the kind described in the charges brought against him.
Two Israelis supporters present in court offered to serve as guarantors, and Abu Rahme's nephew rushed to the village to raise the bail money.
Muhammed Abu Rahme was released two hours later at Qalandiya checkpoint.