Ofer - Stone Throwing, Incitement
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Major Etty Adar
Defense: Atty. Habib Labib
Prosecutor: Nazzi Mekonen
Defendant: Bassem Tamimi – Case No. 2058/11, resident of Nabi Saleh
(For background of the case see previous report).
At the start of the trial the defense informed the judge that a petition has been submitted to disclose the material in the confidential file. In addition, the defendant denies and refutes all the allegations against him. When the defense receives the material, it will appeal to the High Court of Justice and contest each charge separately.
The interpreter has a hard time translating, and we have trouble hearing him (even though we sit in the first row). At one point the interpreter asks the judge to enlist the attorney’s help in translation, because Bassem’s language is too literary for him. The prosecution objects, but the judge overrules him and allows Atty. Habib to help with the translation.
An additional interpreter is brought in as backup, but he too needs correction from time to time, and Atty. Habib helps.
At the end of the hearing, an entire paragraph was deleted form the protocol, containing Bassem’s address to the court. However, we were able to reconstruct some of it.
Bassem wished to say a few words. Here is the gist of what he said, as best as we were able to hear and record it:
I am here against my will to be judged by laws that I do not recognize enacted by a legislator that forces them on me.
At this point the prosecutor objects.
Atty. Haviv states that according to his understanding this is a political trial and it is important that Bassem has his say.
The judge agrees and allows Bassem to continue.
Bassem: Even though I object to these laws, which are in the service of the occupation, and out of respect to your and mine intelligence… if justice disappears, at least we can have recourse to reason. Thus, I admit that Yes, I did participate in marches and non-violent popular demonstrations. I acted in accordance with universal laws. I have not read the code of laws of the occupation, and I don’t know if this kind of protest violates the laws of the occupation. I believe in the legitimacy of our protest, and that’s why I took part in it, in order to protect my children and yours. I want to see an end of the occupation so we can live in peace. It is my right to resist the occupation.
The marches came only after we exhausted all other modes of resistance. The Israeli courts ruled that those are our lands, but when we tried to exercise our rights, the army prevented us from reaching our land, flouting the court’s decision and protecting the settlers. [my addition: settlers who seized the land illegally; the soldiers side with the settlers instead of carrying out the court’s ruling].
Finally, I bore the brunt of blatant hostility form the Israeli army: I was arrested, my sister was killed, my wife was incarcerated, my home is under threat of demolition… But all this did not breed in me hatred for you. I still believe in peace and teach my children to love, even “Love your enemy…”
At this point, the audience applauded and was berated by the judge.
(see Tamimi’s entire address here - from the website of the Committee for Popular Struggle).
The judge then read to Bassem the indictment, which includes 5 charges:
1. Incitement, and collusion in an unlawful organization. He is charged that since January 2010, he has been organizer, leader, instigator and operator of violent demonstrationa in Nabi Saleh: together with Naji Tamimi, he assembled village youngsters, divided them into groups and assigned a task to each group. The briefing took place at the village council during weekdays. The judge describes each group’s mission.
At this point Atty. Habib comments: In short, the claim is that Bassem is the Chief of Staff.
2. Incitement to throw rocks at people and property.
3. Disruption of legal proceedings. Instructing village youth in how to behave during detention and interrogation.
4. Directing marches and organizing demonstrations via cell phone from the village rooftops.
5. Disobeying an order to report to police interrogation (the summons was by phone).
Atty. Habib explains: Charge 5, according to legal precedent, it is not mandatory to report to the police if the call is done by phone. Anyone can call and pretend he is an interrogator.
The attorney also reminds the court that the defense is appealing the secrecy of the file.
Bassem denies the allegations.
The next hearing is set for 27.6.11 at 11:00.
Witnesses will be deposed.