Ofer - Release on Bail, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Major Meir Vigiser
Prosecutor: Nathaniel Kola
Defense: atty. Nery Ramati and Ihab Galid
We came to observe the hearing of eight boys from Beit Ommar accused of throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles. There was a rumor that the judge had ordered the eight boys removed from the village for a certain period. This rumor is false and it is not clear who spread it. Seven of the boys are in detention and will remain so until the conclusion of the proceedings.
Bilal Mahmoud Ayad Awwad – ID 4101537915
BaselAbu Maria – ID 859597908
Zain Abu Maria – ID854841111
Mohab Aadi – ID 859507600
Saed Al Sleibi – ID 859597882
Sami Abu Joda – ID 401691910
Ahmad Al Sleibi – ID 859543076
Ayash Awwad - ID 401539671
They are all 15-16. They were arrested in their homes between 2-3:30 AM and interrogated at the police station in the morning, without their parents’ presence and without access to a lawyer. All the boys confessed to throwing rocks and the event was captured on video and in stills. Three boys, Bilal Awwad, Sami Abu Joda and Ayash Awwad, have prior convictions for throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles and are under suspended sentences.
Defense Atty. Ramati argued that the blatant violations committed during the arrests and the interrogations, which infringe on the boys’ rights, warrant their release on bail. In addition to being arrested in the middle of the night, three boys were interrogated by Motti Ohana, who is not a juvenile interrogator, and they were not notified of their rights (to remain silence).
I refer here to a debate sparked by Mili’s suggestion that we do not publish minors’ names. Responses to her suggestion spoke of the difference between the treatment of minors in Israel and in the Occupied Territories. In today’s hearing the defense said, “The defendants are minors and the principles that govern the juvenile laws in Israel apply to them too, therefore we need to be more careful in defending their rights.” Now the point is clear.
Ahmad Sleibi was released on bail in the morning (before we arrived in court) because his rights had been so clearly and blatantly violated. On the day of the arrest, Atty. Lymor Goldstein called twice asking to see the boy, but the interrogators forbade it. The boy was not informed about his right to remain silent. In view of this, the judge decided to release him on bail under these conditions:
10,000-shekel deposit in cash to insure his reporting to court.
Third party guarantee by a holder of an Israeli ID for 15,000 shekels,
Commitment to report to court when summoned to hearing of his case.
The prosecution appealed the decision and the appeal will be heard and next Sunday (April1).
A comment about the judge: he seems to have meticulously examined the flaws in the interrogation of each of the boys and insisted on guarding their rights as minors both during the detention and the interrogation.
The trial will resume on 4.4.12 before Justice Sharon Rivlin-Ahai.