Ofer - Stone Throwing, Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Sgt.-Major Shmuel Kedar
Prosecutor: Captain Asher Silver
Muhammad Jamil Hasan Kafia - ID 852843481
Defense: Atty. Fadi Qawasme
The defendant, a resident of Beituniya, is an engineering student at Abu-Dis University. He was arrested on 13.4.12 on charges of membership and activity in an unlawful association, in this case the Hamas student organization – “Alkutla Al-Islamiya”. The evidence is his participation in 2009 in a students’ fair as representative of Alkutla .
Once more, the “Qawasme principle” was invoked (no relation to the attorney) which stipulates that if there is no proof that the activity was ended, it must be deemed as continuing until the day of arrest, even if it happened years earlier. This is a vicious and tricky rule, because there is no official membership in those organizations: no fees and no registration. Thus, when the activity ceases, there is no record of it, and thus Muhammad Kafia can be accused of membership and activity based on evidence from 2009.
Indeed this is what the military prosecutor argues: “There is no proof positive of a later activity. Still, the prosecution cannot conclude that the defendant ceased his activity, and certainly not his membership in the organization…the time that elapsed from his last activity cannot warrant that he stopped his membership.”
Remember, these are events that took place in 2009.
How did the learned prosecutor justify his conclusion? It went thus, “The defendant has not changed his way of life at all. Today he is a fourth year student at Abu Dis University, the same university that was the scene of his activity as detailed in the indictment.” And he added, “There was no significant change in the defendant’s life and considering his total denial of the charges, the prosecution concluded that his activity continued until the day of his arrest.” In other words, since he denies the allegation, this is proof that he continues his activity in “Kutla”.
Predictably, the defense argued that the defendant’s activity (his presence at the students’ fair as representative of “Kutla Islamiya”) ended in 2009. The defendant was arrested by the Palestinian Authority because of his activity in the organization, and his release is further proof that he ended his activity.
The Judge’s Decision: release under limiting condition, i.e., 10,000 shekels bail and third party guarantee of 5000 shekels.
The judge here managed to ‘hold the rope at both ends’: he comes out as fair and just while at the same time leaving the defendant incarcerated. The prosecution has 72 hours to appeal the judge’s decision.
Bail assessment hearing set for 6.5.12
During the hearing we drew the judge’s attention to the fact that no Arabic translation was provided. The interpreter turned to us saying rudely, “What’s that to you?” The judge, who had not noticed the missing translation until that point, instructed the interpreter to translate.
Baha Muhammad Hussein Amara– 15 years old from Nabi Saleh
Charge: Throwing rocks
Defense : Atty. Nubani, replacing Nery Ramati
The detainee is a small boy, looking 12 at most. His parents were not present in court. An uncle who attended the hearing said that the father was sick and the mother has 5 small children at home and could not leave them.
In the previous hearing Baha was released on 1500 shekel bail, but he “did not fulfill the condition for his release” meaning that his family did not pay the sum, and according to the defense because of Independence Day and Memorial Day no indictment has been issued yet. The prosecution will decide if charges will be pressed, but in any event, it will object to reducing the conditions (“conditions” mean the 1500 shekels that will be added to the treasury of the Israeli Defense Forces.)
The judge’s decision: If the prosecution does not present an indictment until 10 AM tomorrow, the defendant will be released without bail. If they do indict, the conditions of release will remain in force.
Bail assessment hearing set for Tuesday 1.5.12
Ahmad Hassan Ne’iratfrom Ramallah
Ahmad is a computer science student from Bir-Zeit University. He was arrested 20 days ago, taken from his home at 2:30 AM. He is suspected of membership and activity in an unlawful association. He also took part in meetings of Kutla Al-Islamiya.
The prosecution requests a five-day remand extension to complete the indictment. The judge accedes.
I spoke with the defendant’s mother outside the court. She asked about our activity and if we could help. I told her the truth, that we cannot do anything and that we report and publish as much as we can, but who wants to hear? She covered her face sorrowfully and said, “May God listen.”
If you want to understand why Hamas is leading in elections, remember this woman.
Muhammad Jaffri, ID 852498773– from Deheisha (refugee camp)
Defense: Munzer Abu Ahmad
The accused is suspected of participating in a rock throwing incident.
The IDF carried out a “defense forces action” in Deheisha Camp; if you are familiar with this Newspeak you know what this “action” means and what it looks like. Here the incident involved a single rock thrown at a jeep, soldiers coming out of a bakery and five “rock hurlers” (as if this is an official title or designation) who naturally fled the scene. Muhammad was there too.
The evidence against him was brought by soldiers. This is how the prosecutor argued for detaining the accused until the conclusion of the procedure. (Cited from the protocol, in the original halting Hebrew): “This was action by security forces in Disha (Deheisha) which is a typical hostile place, where security forces have a hard time, and rocks are thrown at the forces, making our action even harder. Let it be noted that the accused is a resident of the camp and therefore there is high probability that in similar circumstances in the future, he will do it again… In addition, he was born in the nineties, so he is not a minor, reason enough for the court not to show leniency, especially in view of the danger his action poses.”
Remember, his action was running away from the security forces.
The defense objected to the detention, arguing that the soldiers’ testimonies are inconsistent and that they were not telling the truth, but the judge replied that a remand extension hearing is not the right place to raise such arguments.
Decision: Remand extension until the conclusion of the proceeding.
I have no way of knowing whether Muhammad threw rocks or not, but his residence in a refugee camp and his age (22) should not be grounds for severity and for detention. It was not Muhammad who went to the soldiers’ residence; the soldiers came to his home to carry out “an action”. Several thousand people live in Deheisha, including many youngsters his age. By the prosecutor’s reasoning, all of them should be detained. Only a military court can accept such arguments and hand down a decision based on them.
Afnan Ramadan– a female detainee brought to Courtroom 7
The interpreter who prepared the court for the hearing asked me to leave. The detainee, he claimed, asked that only her family be present during her hearing.