Ofer - Release on Bail, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
"I won't do it again; I want to study..."
Today we came to court because we wanted to follow the case of Ibrahim Abu Al-Arish (ID.859813420), a kid we know from Qalandiya Checkpoint, who was caught on camera there shaking the metal barrier of one of the lanes. He was charged with causing damage to military equipment and has been detained all this time because he cannot pay the high bail the court imposed on him.
Even though the arraignment hearing was set for today, there was no mention of his case and nobody could answer our questions concerning this detainee. [see earlier report: http://www.machsomwatch.org/en/ofer_thu_22_7_10_morning ]
We refer you also to Amira Hass's article on the rock throwing kids in
Ramsy Aadel Ahmad Salah, ID. 943342691
In answer to our question, the defense stated that the defendant is not a minor, but his trial takes place in this hall (No. 2 serving as juvenile court on Mondays) because he is about to be released today as a result of a plea bargain.
He is accused of "throwing rocks". In March 2010 he threw rocks, in the company of others.
Justice Sharon Rivlin-Ahai: "The defendant is aware that he is charged with throwing rocks. He has two prior convictions of similar charges and there's a 12-months probation. The sides reached an agreement for extension of the probation and a monetary fine. There were some difficulties with the evidence. Obviously, the proposed penalty does not fit the repeated violations by the defendant."
The judge specified the arrangement:
1. The probation will be extended by two additional years.
2. A fine of 2000 shekels or two additional months in jail.
The jurists now all engage in mathematical calculations and reach the conclusion that the probation ends in 2013.
The judge concludes the hearing with a motherly advice to the defendant: "Let's be careful from now on. Stay away from rock throwers..." as if she herself acknowledges that it was not really his fault.
Arraignment hearing in Courtroom 2.
Maamoun Samih Adallah Harpush, ID. 854677747, 15 years old, from the village of Harbata.
His mother and sister sit behind us. The mother converses with the son, while the beautiful sister, a spitting image of her younger brother, cannot hold back her tears.
Defense: Firas Sabah
Judge: Sharon Rivlin-Ahai
Charge: Throwing an incendiary object at Route 443
The prosecutor does not require the maximum penalty, arguing that "the court should note the young age of the defendant and the great distance of the thrown object..."
When asked by the judge if he wants to add anything, the youth replies: "I won't do it again; I want to study..."
Judge: "The court takes into consideration the fact that there is no prior record, the young age of the defendant and the great distance which precluded any danger to the passengers (the target of the ‘incendiary object') as well as a promise not to repeat the offense..."
Sentence: 12 months in jail starting with the day of arrest plus 15 months probation, plus 3000 shekel fine or three months in jail.
Samih's father, who sits behind us, reckons his son will be released in two months.
Bilal Ayiub Abd Al-Rahman Hamed, ID. 944814227, 27 years old, from Ramallah.
Charged with holding and trading in military materiel.
Judge: Captain Zvi Heilbronn
Defense: Atty. Samara
Bilal has been in detention for a year. The next hearing has been set for 16.8.10.
Defense: This is a complicated case..." He requests postponement until after Ramadan. The judge notes that due to heavy case load the trial may not take place before October. The defense concurs. The defendant, however, insists on the original date. The attorney, who apparently is uncomfortable working during the period of fast, is adamant about the postponement, whereupon the defendant demands to change his defense and contacts another attorney who happens to be in court on another business.
Judge to Defense: He's been in detention for a year. We need to advance this case." And to the defendant he says, "The case is in its final stage. At this point, until another attorney is contracted, I do not release Atty. Samara from representing you."
Atty. Samara, who was not keen on coming to court during Ramadan now says, "I'll be here on the 16th (the original date). A hearing is set for the original date when the defendant will name his attorney.
Defendant: Issa Amru, ID. 905708327 - investigative reporter, photographer.
Charge: attacking a civil servant.
Issa was arrested on 6.8.10 when he documented a settlers' attack on a Palestinian family in retaliation for the evacuation of an illegal outpost a few days earlier.
The defense asks to release him while the police representative moves for remand extension.
Defense: Atty. Gaby Lasky, later replaced by Nery Ramati
Representative of Israeli Police: Investigator Amitai Amosi
The hearing was set for 10:00. Atty. Lasky was there at the appointed hour. The police rep did not show up and the defendant was not brought from the Russian Compound.
At 12:00 the police investigator arrived, blaming his delay on "technical circumstances" and Issa's absence on the GSS.
Prior to the judge's entry (Courtroom 5) we overheard the investigator tell the defense that "(Issa) has a lobby, that's why they even hear his case... You know that not all Palestinians receive such treatment. They could have kept him in detention and he would not have his day in court.
Atty. Lasky objected to holding a remand extension hearing without her client's presence, claiming that such a procedure is illegal. The police investigator requested time to ascertain the whereabouts of the detainee and update the court on when he can be brought in.
The judge declared a thirty minutes recess.
We left the premises. The rest of the report is culled from the protocol given us by Atty. Lasky and from information obtained by phone from B'Tzelem representative, Noam, who attended the entire session:
At 15:39 the defendant arrived and the hearing resumed. The investigator requested remand extension to pursue the investigation, stressing that "the case involves a violent clash between Jewish and Palestinian residents... the defendant did not just attend the event but took active part in the hostilities. There was much endangerment in a sensitive area..."
The defense wanted to present a video recording of the event made by the defendant and later taken away by the police, but the investigator objected.
From Issa's testimony: "... I called the police... settlers broke into Arabs' home and beat up six children and two foreigners. My job is to photograph... I was helping the law and in the interest of justice, I recorded the hostilities..."
Judge: "Before signing on my decision I'd like to state that due to the defendant's conduct during the event, I order him barred from Hill 18 (the site of the incident) and from other areas of friction."
He ordered the defendant released under these conditions:
1. Deposit of 5000 shekels.
2. Third party guarantee of 5000 shekels.
3. Removal from the area for ten days, as mentioned above. Violation of this restriction will result in arrest.
Since the decision was handed down in the afternoon, the money had to be paid in cash. Apparently, the justice system is not familiar with checks or credit cards. By the time Issa was able to acquire the money and rush to the post office, it was closed.
Noam had to return the next day and Issa was forced to spend another night at the Russian Compound [police detention center]. The next day the money was deposited, but no vehicle could be found in the Russian Compound to drive Issa to the Territories and once more his release was postponed.
At 5:00 p.m., when a police car was finally located, Issa was driven from Jerusalem to the Ramallah area. He had to make his way to his home in Hebron by himself.
The judge also stipulated "750 shekels to be awarded the defense attorney - from local area funds - as compensation for time wasted due to police mishandling of the case."