Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
The physical check-up at the gate is getting worse and worse lately – this is unacceptable!
Justice Zvi Heilbronn’s Court
There were many delays today. The judge left the court because the defense did not show up; he asked to be summoned when the latter arrived. The judge returned but the attorney was not there, so the judge left again. Eventually the hearing began.
Ribhi Bazar, ID944540368
The defendant is a middle-aged man from Beit Lakiya. There were no family members in the court. He looked very dejected.
The prosecutor did not give us his name, guarding his privacy.
Defense: Rahamim Dayan (standing in for Atty. Dahan who represented the defendant previously)
Charge: On 18.2.12, a week before his arrest, the suspect provided his picture and 15 shekels with a view to obtaining a false ID card under the name of Yihya Shalubi. He is also charged with infringement of the ‘closed area injunction’ (illegal stay). The court accepted a plea bargain whereby two (unspecified) counts were struck from the indictment.
The court ruling: in view of the defendant’s prior convictions – 3 similar violations and one old violation; considering his record and his suspended sentence, and despite his claim that he broke the law in order to provide for his family (he has seven children), the court insisted he has to use legal means when he leaves his area.
Sentence: 4 months in jail from the day of arrest (26.2.12) and activation of the suspended sentence for 2 months, plus a new 2-month suspended sentence for 30 months for entering and leaving Israel illegally. He also got a 3-month suspended sentence for 3 years for using false documents, in addition to a 2500 shekel fine (to be paid upon his release) or two and a half months in jail.
Mati (?) Ruhi. The accused has no attorney. The court appoints Atty. Safiya (who arrived 5 minutes before the hearing). No family members attended the hearing.
Charge: He was caught on Rte 1 near Mishor Adumim driving at the speed of 143 KPH (in a 90 zone). When flagged, he fled the intersection driving through a red light. He was caught at Azariya Junction, with no driver’s license and no insurance. The vehicle has a yellow license plate and there were 5 passengers in it. He claims he is an auto electrician and is used to driving his vehicle in the village.
The Police Investigator requests detention until the conclusion of the proceedings.
The defense says such violations do not merit detention.
The investigator could not cite any precedents for his motion.
A debate ensued concerning the number of traffic lights on the road in question.
The judge says that if he releases the defendant before the conclusion of the proceedings, he will impose a complete house arrest under adult supervision.
The judge allowed the defendant 3 phone calls to arrange bail.
Justice Sharon Rivlin-Ahai’s Court
A group of detainees, most of them minors, came in one after the other. We left after four hearings, when exhaustion took a toll on our attention and concentration.
Muhammad Najah Salem – ID 4021955283 – Case No. 3129/11
A 14-year old boy from Hizme, who looks like a 10 year old. His mother sat in the court. When I spoke to her she smiled warmly.
Charge: throwing rocks in June 2011. The boy is not in detention. He sits next to his attorney, Safiya.
Military prosecutor – name not given.
Atty. Safiya spoke with the boy (perhaps trying to convince him to agree to a plea bargain). He smiled and looked amused, perhaps because this short, skinny boy was adamant in his refusal to admit guilt and insisted on an evidentiary trial.
There is a statement given by the boy at the police station, but I could not hear its details. There is also an incriminating witness, summoned to appear in court on 18.4.12. The boy is barred from discussing the case with the witness (also from Hizme).
The boy, showing serious demeanor, seems to understand the injunction. When the hearing was over, he sat down with his mother. Apparently, they waited for the hearings of the other boys who were charged with the same violation at the same event.
Fakher Shaher Raza Naasan, ID 860087949- Case No. 1625/12 – age 17.
Defense: Atty. Ahmed Safiya
Charge: possession of arms – on 20 occasions. He was caught collection bullets and shells at Hativat Etzion. The soldiers chased him and he is accused of preventing a soldier from carrying out his task. In December he and others threw rocks at an Israeli bus and damaged it, they aimed rocks at soldiers, set fire to a copse in order to draw the soldiers, then threw rocks at them.
The court agreed to a motion by the defense to postpone the trial by two weeks so the sides can reach an agreement.
Muhammad Jalab Muhammad Saleh Aladin- ID 401646385, Case No. 3185/11, age 16 from Hizme.
Defense: Atty. Ahmad Safiya.
The boy is accused of throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles in June 2011. He admits the charges.
In reply to the judge’s questions, the boy states that he does not study and does not work.
What do you do? – Nothing.
The court accepts a plea bargain: in view of the defendant’s clean record, his young age and his admission of guilt, he gets a 6-month suspended sentence for 3 years, plus a 1000 shekel fine to be subtracted from the bail deposit. The rest of the money will be returned to him.
Muhammad Waja Jamil Wahadan – ID 854554631 – Case No. 1441/12
A minor (we could not ascertain how old). Not in detention. The family is not present in court. He sits next to Muhammad Najah Salem and his mother.
Defense: Atty. Ahmad Safiya
The boy denies the allegation of rock throwing. Witnesses will be summoned and Atty. Safiya will represent him when the names of the witnesses are obtained. For reasons of conflict of interest the attorney has to make sure that he does not represent any of those witnesses.
Norah’s Report from Courtroom 4
Judge: Major Etty Adar
Defense: Captain Michael Avitan
Defense: Atty. Labib Habib
Defendant: Bassem Muhammad Abed Alrahman Tamimi – Case No. 2058/11, resident of Nabi Saleh, accused of incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations. He has been detained since March 2011 [See earlier reports on this case]
Today the court heard the concluding statements in this trial.
A large crowd of supporters and diplomats was present, as was the defendant’s mother, a small, frail elderly woman who cried most of the time. Her presence, however, brought joy to Bassem, her only son. A few years ago she lost her daughter who died while in detention.
The hearing began at 10:30 and ended at 13:15.
The prosecutor argued that Bassem Tamimi’s violation went beyond incitement, becoming active solicitation to throw rocks.
The defense, in a lengthy and excellent summation, argued that his client’s detention is illegal and he has to be released. His detention is based on illegal testimony and incrimination by two minors from the village whose interrogation was carried out in violation of juvenile laws. Their rights were violated and they spoke under pressure of intimidation and false promises of release.
[For details see protocol in Hebrew and a press release by the Coordination Committee of the Popular Struggle]
When the hearing was over, I helped the old mother to her feet and brought her to her son who kissed her excitedly. Nobody in the court (including soldiers and prison officials) dared interfere.