Ofer - Release on Bail, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Morning and Afternoon Sessions
Courtroom 2, Juvenile court
Judge: Major Sharon Rivlin-Ahai
Prosecutor: Atty. Captain Michael Avitan
There are 21 cases in the docket today. In 16 of them the main charge is throwing rocks, and incendiary objects. About ten of the defendants have been in custody for at least 6 months for violations allegedly carried out in 2010 or earlier.
In the first hour of the morning session 6 young boys were brought in. In all of these cases an extension was granted and dates were set for continuation.
Muhammad Mahmud Diab Harfush – Case No. 3773/10, 16.5 years old from Harbata.
He accepts a revised indictment for throwing rocks – with a friend - at Route 443.
Among the charges is also: a plan to throw rocks, which did not come to fruition, as well as the making of an incendiary object. The violations were committed over several months in 2010.
Atty. Safiya also represents this defendant’s brother, who apparently was arrested with him. Details will be given in the next hearing.
Muhammad Eid Yussuf Badran – Case No. 2705/10
This was supposed to be the concluding hearing, but the judge objected to the plea bargain, which involved replacing Atty.Muhammad Shaheen with Akram Samara. The agreement was made according to the procedures set by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club and with the prosecution’s consent, but the judge determined that at this late stage of the process the defense’s replacement was done without notifying the defendant and his family; consequently, she did not release Atty. Shaheen from representing the defendant.
A memorandum hearing was set for 4.4.11.
At 11 the boys sitting in the dock were ushered out and instead Islam Salah Dar Ayoub – Case No. 1367/11 was brought in. His hearing continued after lunch break. His father was present in the court.
The defense was Atty. Gaby Lasky.
Following Justice Captain Etty Adar’s decision (given in a separate hearing) to release Islam to his parents’ custody on 5000-shekel bail and 5000 shekel third party guarantee, the prosecution moved to halt the proceedings. Atty. Gaby Lasky objected to the motion and to the prosecution’s attempt to add restrictions to the release (such as: reporting periodically to the police and insuring that the defendant and his family be always available by phone).
The judge decided to release the defendant and to allow the prosecution to appeal.
The prosecution appealed, but until today the appellate court has not handed down a decision.
After lunch there was an additional hearing in the mini-trial of the boy Islam Dar Ayoub (Tamimi), from the village of Nabi Salah. The court again examined the defense’s claim that Islam’s statement was obtained by the police interrogators through illegal means and is therefore inadmissible. (See earlier report that includes testimony by prosecution witnesses from Maale Adumim police station: both claimed they were following their commander’s instructions).
Today, the commanding officer himself, Inspector Jalal Awida, was summoned to testify for the prosecution. He was asked the same questions posed to the earlier witnesses – and the answers, too, were the same.
Yes, the boy was informed of his right to remain silent.
Yes, the atmosphere throughout the interrogation was pleasant and friendly.
No, Islam’s parents were not present, but it is not the custom to have Palestinian parents present during interrogations: they live too far away and it is too complicated.
No, the witness is not responsible to what happens before the interrogation (arresting a child at 2 AM, keeping him in a jeep for hours, blindfolded and bound, preventing him from going to the bathroom, depriving him of sleep… and whatever else that happened there. The fact is the boy arrived at the police station in a wretched state, and when the interrogation began, at 9 AM, he must have been exhausted and scared to death).
The commander affirmed that he had given the order not to wait for the attorney Lymor Goldstein who had requested to be present at the interrogation.
“There was an order to begin the interrogation, so the interrogation began.”
Thus, he too was merely following orders from his superior officer.
The superior officer is Yitzhak Shilo, head of Interrogation Division of Judea and Samaria. He was summoned to testify a week later, on 29.3.11 (Unfortunately, we were unable to attend so the report is based on the hearing’s protocol in Hebrew.)
Yitzhak Shilo affirms that he gave the order not to wait for the attorney explaining:
“…The suspect was arrested by the IDF forces. As per our request… he was brought to us for interrogation. That morning, during his interrogation, he admitted participating in disturbances and incriminated others [emphasis mine – N.O.]… The attorney came to Headquarters and asked to meet with him. The interrogation team informed me that the attorney was at the gate… and that the accused was starting to admit to the charges and to incriminate others. Since the interrogation was ongoing and was as yet inconclusive, I determined that if I allowed the attorney to meet the suspect, it would seriously compromise the interrogation. Thus, I instructed the interrogators to tell the attorney that I am delaying his meeting with his client… and that eventually I would allow him to see the client…”
The meeting eventually took place at 14:30, after the 5-hour interrogation was over.
Shilo neglected to mention in his testimony that the attorney had telephoned the station before the interrogation began and asked to delay it until his arrival.
In his testimony on 21.3.11 Jalal Awida testified regarding the same question posed by the prosecutor:
Q: The defense claims that the defendant’s right to an attorney was violated…
A: It was not violated. Had he requested to consult an attorney, we would have immediately consented.
This is a very strange answer. Does a 14 year old know his rights? After all, they did not inform him about his right to consult an attorney.
What did Islam do during the 2 hour hearing today? He sat on the bench, his head slumped on his knees, covered by his hands – either asleep or simply refusing to hear the humiliating story or watch the video of the interrogation that the defense presented in order to prove that the minor had not been notified about his right to remain silent. He sat scrunched on the bench, not even looking at his father or at the people who came to support him. A 14 year old is capable of understanding the meaning of having incriminated many villagers who are now being arrested one by one and prosecuted. Even if he named them under heavy pressure, it must be very hard to live with the knowledge that he was made to incriminate his neighbors.
(see detailed protocol of today’s hearing in Hebrew)