Ofer - Stone Throwing, Interrogation of Witness

Observers: 
Lizi Sagie, Norah Orlow (reporting)
16/05/2011
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Morning

Translation: Marganit W.

Morning and afternoon sessions

We came to hear the mini-trial concerning the admissibility of the interrogation of the boy Islam Dar Ayoub Tamimi, as well as an appeal of the court’s decision to remand Bassam Tamimi in custody until the conclusion of the proceedings. Both defendants are residents of the village of Nabi Saleh.

 

In between, we also peeked into other courtrooms:

 

In Courtroom 7 there were more than 60 traffic cases in the docket; they were processed at lightening speed, filling the state’s coffers.

 

In Courtroom 2, as is the custom on Mondays, mostly minors were tried in front of Justice Major Sharon Rivlin-Ahai. Out of 29 cases in the docket, 18 concerned “rock throwing” by minors.

 

Toward noon, the mini-trial began regarding the admissibility of the interrogation of Islam Saleh Dar Ayoub [Tamimi], ID 402197834 -Case No. 1361/11. The defendant is 14 years old.

Judge: Major Sharon Rivlin-Ahai

Prosecutor: Captain Michael Avitan

Defense: Atty. Gaby Lasky

 

The reason for the delay this morning was that Islam and his parents were detained at the compound gate and were refused entry. When Atty. Lasky intervened, the father and son were let in, but not the mother. The guard who detained the family told the judge that indeed he had refused to let the mother in and sent her home. The reason: she “caused a disturbance at the gate”. A furious Atty. Lasky said she would lodge a complaint against the imperious soldier.

Islam came in limping: he had broken his leg the day before at home where he is under house arrest.

Prosecution Witness No. 1 was Atty. Lymor Goldstein, who declared that since he was about to testify, he was resigning from the case.

The interrogation focused on Goldstein’s attempts to locate the accused once he had found out about his arrest… and then on his attempt to meet with his client BEFORE his interrogation, an attempt that failed, despite the numerous phone calls he placed to the police station informing the police that he was on his way: Inspector Jalal Awwida [who had already testified in this case – see report from 21.3.11] prevented him from attending the interrogation, invoking an injunction against a meeting between detainee and attorney.

The witness testified that when he saw his client after the interrogation he found him distraught and in very poor condition. He was crying and told Atty. Goldstein that he had been beaten by the soldiers, and kept in a jeep following his arrest.

In cross-examination, the prosecutor queried Goldstein’s psychological expertise. He showed the court two film strips allegedly proving that the boy had not been distraught.

Then the defense presented the court an opinion by a child psychologist, based on professional literature, detailing the effect of detention on minors. She also wanted to present a special UN report by Professor Norak regarding the Convention Against Torture, which cites international law governing detention and children’s rights.

The prosecutor’s response: The cited opinion does not relate directly to the defendant’s case.

The prosecutor moves to call the expert himself to testify.

The judge’s decision: In view of the disagreement about the expert opinion, she sides with the prosecution: the experts need to be deposed. The defense can do so, if it wishes.

The defense asked to set a date for the defendant’s mother to testify, as well as for the expert witnesses.

The mother’s testimony was set for 14.6.11.

(See further details of the hearing in the protocol - Hebrew)

See also Amira Hass’s article in Haaretz on 23.5.11.

 

Courtroom 3 – Appeals court

Judge: Sgt.- Major Ronen Atzmon

Prosecutor: ??

Defense: Atty. Habib Labib

 

After the lunch break  we attended a hearing in the appeal of a “remand extension until the conclusion of the proceedings” (from 17.4.11) of Bassam Tamimi, age 44, ID 959225640 - Case No. 2058/11.

The defendant was one of several people incriminated by Islam Dar Ayoub. He was arrested on 24.3.11.

(See earlier report from 31.3.11 as well as the indictmentHebrew - and a post in the site of the

Committee of the Popular Struggle]

 

The defense’s main arguments: the testimonies by 3 soldiers, claiming that Bassam Tamimi incited and gave orders to use violence during the weekly demonstrations [against land confiscation in Nabi Saleh], lack evidentiary base – there is no photographic documentation or recorded phone calls that can prove the charge of incitement.

The defense also protested the way the incriminator [Islam] was arrested and interrogated, insisting that the defendant’s name had been obtained from the boy by coercion.

 

The judge listened politely to the arguments, then several days later handed down his decision: the appeal was rejected – Bassam Tamimi will remain in custody until the conclusion of the proceedings.