Ofer - Stone Throwing, Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
General comment: Once again, there were no dockets. Ramadan, which began yesterday, was the reason that so few families attended and only few
courtrooms were operating.
In Courtroom 5 remand extensions were heard. The judge was Barak Jordan (the one who demanded an apology when one of our colleagues described his hearings as a "show" and threatened to sue us for 100,000 shekels if we did not apologize).
Prosecutor: Jenny Lubovsky (She refused to give Nery her last name: we finally got it from the protocol).
Defense: Nery Ramati
Defendant: Muhammad Abu Ayash, age 15.5.
The boy, a resident of Bet-Ummar, is accused of throwing a rock - with his brother - from the balcony of his home at soldiers carrying out operations in the village. Two soldiers testified: Gershon Reznikov and Lior Devosh.
They testified that they recognized the boy's face and clothes: brown shirt with yellow stripes. The boys deny the allegation. The prosecutor requested remand extension to complete the investigation, citing the soldiers' testimonies, which are identical.
Defense: The soldiers admit that there was no eye contact from the moment they saw the boys on the balcony until the rock hit. This weakens the credibility of the evidence, and requires the court to be extra careful.
Prosecutor: Indeed, there was a gap of several minutes, but eventually the soldiers reached the house. The suspects were identified from a distance of 20-30 meters. A few minutes later, reinforcement arrived and the soldiers broke into the house and arrested the boys.
Defense: The real question here is: the 15-year old defendant threw a rock that did not hurt anyone nor caused any damage. Couldn't the court consider an alternative to detention, which involves no risk? The alleged violation is low on the scale of endangerment: he did not cause damage, and he does not have prior convictions. Amendment 14 of the Juvenile Code states that detention until the conclusion of the proceedings should be the last resort and used only in extreme cases.
The attorney cited precedents and suggested posting bail, supervision by a member of the family, house arrest etc. The boys, the attorney pointed out, did not seek the soldiers to pelt them with rocks. The soldiers entered the village.
He added: If it were a Jewish boy who threw rocks in that area (i.e., the occupied territories), no court would send him to detention until the conclusion of the investigation.
Prosecutor: The defendant is 15.5, the typical age for such violations. He threw rocks from the balcony at a passing patrol. These soldiers, although they wear helmets, are more exposed than soldiers in a jeep, thus there was serious danger to their lives.
As for the difference between detention of Israelis and Palestinians, she offered this explanation: Of course, there's a difference between a Palestinians minor and an Israeli minor. The force (!) that comes to arrest a Palestinian minor is exposed to rocks and to threats to their lives. She added that there is no difference between Jew and Palestinians when it comes to the response to rock throwing.
Atty. Ramati retorted, "Sure, see the case of Havat Ma'on."
Judge's decision: Rock throwing should not be taken lightly. However, these days, when the case involves a minor, the tendency is to consider alternatives to detention. The minor will be released under these conditions:
5000 shekel bail until the trial, third party guarantee for the same amount, and injunction not to leave his home, except in order to report to the court.
The judge acceded to the prosecution and ordered a 48- hour delay in carrying out the decision.
Hearing set for 4.8.11 at 11:15.
The attorney told us that if the prosecution appealed the ruling, he, too, would appeal the amount of the bail.
Remand extension in the case of Yusuf Mussa Yusuf Hawasha
Defense: Atty. Mahmoud Hassan
Judge: Barak Jordan
Prosecutor: Jenny Lubovsky
The defendant, a 45-year old resident of Bir-Zeit, is a member of a civil court (marriage, divorce, custody of children etc). He was arrested at home 18 days ago at 3 AM. He is accused of membership and activity in an unlawful association, in this case the Popular Front [for the liberation of Palestine].
As soon as the session opened, Justice Jordan declared the hearing 'in camera".
Attorney Hassan asked, "Did the prosecution demand an 'in camera' hearing?" The prosecutor consulted her papers and said something indistinguishable. The hearing continued in open court.
Prosecutor (reading from the charge sheet): Walid Habas, an incriminator, testified that he knows the defendant by the name of Abu-Yaffa. At the end of 2009 Walid Habas attended a meeting of the Popular Front, where Abu Yaffa was present. They met every other week to discuss the political situation, write graffiti and open new cells of the Popular Front. The incriminator claimed that the defendant was in charge of marches.
Even though the hearing was open, the defense asked the judge why he had wanted to hold it behind closed door. Did the court have prior information about the case? The judge responded, but I could not hear what he said.
Defense: Walid Habas testifies that he knows the defendant as Abu Yaffa, but gives no other details. Under such circumstance, how did the investigator find the defendant, who denies any prior knowledge of his incriminator? The investigators should have arranged a confrontation between the two in order to substantiate the charge. Had they done so, we would not be having this hearing. Did the investigator really want the truth (considering the contradiction between the claims)? The defendant is charged with participating in a political meeting where political issues were analyzed. There is no ban on meetings. The defense requests an alternative to detention.
Judge's decision: The defendant is accused of membership and activity in an unlawful association, The Popular Front. Since the end of 2002 until his arrest he was in charge of organizing marches for the movement. The prosecution is basing its charge on a statement by Witness No. 2 who states that at the end of 2009 he met the accused for the first time at a rally. The court does not question the credibility of the evidence, considering only if there is risk involved, based on the alleged evidence.
Remand extension until 10.8.11. Justice Shmuel Fleischman will hear the sides.
The trial of Ibrahim Afif Ahmad Bargouti
Judge: Barak Jordan
Prosecutor: Jenny Lubovsky
Defense: Ibrahim Nubani
Charge: throwing rocks
When soldiers came to his house to hand him a subpoena, the defendant,
together with other boys, threw rocks at them. The prosecution requests remand until the conclusion of the investigation. The defense requests an alternative to detention.
The prosecutor cites testimony by Witness No. 2, Sari Bargouti, who on
24.7.11 testified that when the army came to the house with a subpoena,
the defendant, together with others, threw rocks at the soldiers. Another
prosecution witness testified on 18.6.11 that many people threw rocks,
among them the defendant. The attorney points out that those testimonies
mention no dates, hence he objects to the arraignment.
The prosecutor counters that the statement "when the subpoena was presented" amounts to mentioning a date.
The judge points out that the charges refer to more than one instance of
Prosecutor: Referring to the testimony of Witness No. 2, there's a span of two months in which rocks were thrown.
The judge says that in deciding a remand extension he has to be convinced that evidence exists proving the defendant's guilt, yet the court is not obliged to examine the evidence in depth. Based on the evidence in the file, and considering the risk involved in rock throwing, an alternative to detention is not warranted. He orders the defendant remanded until the conclusion of the proceeding. Next hearing is set for 10.8.11.