Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
We came to the military court to follow up on the trial of Malek Alalami. At the end of the day we could not stay any longer, as we shall explain later.
Many family members were waiting in the “pound” when we arrived, and about ten people – we later found out they were settlers – crowded the gate. A DCI (Defense Children International) representative came with several British MPs to hear the case of the 15 year old boy.
Norah will report on the hearing that the settlers attended.
Amir Dahan’s Court (sitting in for Justice Etty Adar)
Justice Dahan consistenly rejected repeated requests by the defense for postponement; the judge protested that such postponements lead to lengthy remand extensions. Attorney Bargout argued with the judge, complaining that the prosecution rejects requests for agreement, and this is why the defense moves for a postponement.
Daoud Suleiman Daoud Haboub,ID 852366160 – Case 1851/12
Charge: possessing and trading in combat materiel. He denies the charges.
Atty. Tawil requests postponement to 10.6.12
The judge ordered to summon witnesses for 30.5.12.
Ayman Ahmad Suleiman al Adam,ID 903892867 – Case 4730/11
Charge: providing services (for an unlawful organization)
Atty Ahlam Hadad told the court that the defendant’s brother had been killed last Friday and she requested permission for him to call his family (they had to wait until Wednesday with such a pitiable request!?). The brother was younger and used to take care of the defendant’s children. The judge commiserated with the defendant who fought back tears. Atty. Hadad requested postponement until mid-June to reach an agreement.
The judge pointed out that the defendant had been in detention for almost a year and that the charges were not serious. He set a memorandum hearing for 27.6.12, wondering if there is need to summon witnesses before the evidentiary hearings, since the case hinges on the defendant’s admission.
Atty. Hadad was confident that an agreement could be reached.
The judge instructed the Prison Authorities to allow the defendant to phone his family and reiterated the court’s sympathy for his loss.
Amar Abed Alrahman Abu Aliya, ID 854342383 – Case 1292/12
Accused of throwing objects.
Atty. Samara reported that an agreement existed regarding the testimony by prosecution witnesses. The judge explained to the defendant that the agreement meant that the testimony of Witness 2 would be handed to the court. The witness will not testify in court, and the testimony will be examined and cross-examined.
The judge encouraged the sides to reach a conclusion by this afternoon, but there was no agreement (I am not sure which side refused).
Thus memorandum hearing was set for 31.5.12 when the defense will inform the court if an agreement had been reached; if not, Witness no.1 will be summoned.
Walid Shukri Habas Mussa,– ID 3717851 (there must be a mistake in the ID number as it appears in the court list) – Case 3429/11
Accused of holding a position (in an unlawful organization).
Atty. Ahmad Safiya said it was not the right time to report to the court and asked for a two month postponement. The judge pointed out that the case had been dragging for a year: the same reasons for postponement have been used three times before. The defense said it would be better to wait for an agreement because there are so many witnesses and it would take 3 years to hear all of them. The judge said a man could not be detained for more than 18 months. If no agreement is reached, they’d have to depose 18 witnesses in six months. The defense said that if they could not reach an agreement, witnesses 13-18 would be deposed.
The defense asked to set the next hearing for 27.6.12 and the judge ordered an internal memorandum hearing for 27.6.12 before Justice Etty Adar, so that the sides would report the result of the negotiation.
Bian Talal Adeeb Naasan, ID850274986 – Case 1622/12
Charge: throwing objects.
He came from home accompanied by his mother.
The court accepted a plea bargain: the court noted that the defendant repeated an offence for which he had been convicted in the past, in 2005, when he was a minor 16 years of age, and according to the penal law that conviction passed the status of limitation.
The penalty: 14 days in prison already served, 6 month suspended sentence for 3 years and a fine of 4000 shekels (!!) to be deducted from the money the accused had deposited when released by the court. He – or the guarantor – will be reimbursed for the balance.
Ibrahim Mahmoud Abed Al Majid,ID 923548051 – Case 4736/11
Atty. Labib requested a postponement and the judge agreed.
The defendant looks like a venerable man both by appearance and conduct. The judge agreed to the defense’s request to seat the defendant near his uncle (a very aged man who had come especially from Jordan) so the two could confer. The two remained talking even after the hearing was over. When the defendant had left, the judge said that if the offenses he was accused of overlapped with convictions the PA had imposed on him, then the court will consider those penalties as if they were issued by this court.
Omar Yusuf Hamad Abu Haniya,ID 963845151 - Case 1488/12
A 44 year old man from Hawwara, accused of possessing and trading in combat materiel.
He came from his home and is not represented by an attorney: he sees no need for it since he claims he is innocent.
He does not contest the facts: he seized a gun from his children, a defective gun. The bullets had been in his house for ten years (he tells the judge: there’s no problem getting bullets). The defendant is a retired PA policeman. He took the gun from his kids’ hands to protect them.
The prosecution insisted on hearing all the witnesses: since he has no legal defense it is impossible to access the material. The defendant said the witnesses are irrelevant, since he does not deny possessing the gun, which according to him was not a violation. The prosecutor insisted the court should decide whether it was a violation. The prosecutor had no objection to a plea bargain.
After the break the defendant was brought to court and the sides announced that an agreement had been reached.
Verdict: The defendant admitted possessing 6 (!) bullets and an improvised hunting rifle. When he saw the children playing with it, he took it away. He doubted the gun was serviceable. The agreement took into account the defendant’s explanations, which were found reasonable. Still, he should have handed the gun to the police or destroyed it. An examination of the gun yielded that it was crudely put together, and the photos of the shells raise doubts that there were actual bullets there.
Sentence: 21 days suspended sentence for a year, plus 1000 shekel fine. (Such an agreement outside the court would be considered extortion- MM)
Remember: the defendant has already been in detention for two weeks.
Seif Bassem Mutda Abu Ayesh,ID 850578998 - Case 1307/12
Accused of possessing and trading in combat materiel.
The defendant has been in detention since 16.12.11.
Atty. Al-Araj was appointed as defense.
On 4.3.12 the accused denied the charges against him and asked to summon prosecution witnesses. The prosecution has failed to do so despite repeated reminders.
The judge ordered the defense to present its case before justice Etty Adar on Monday 14.5.12.
Malek Mahmoud Ali Al-alami,ID 852933068 - Case 1846/12
The defendant is from Beit Ommar.
Defense: Atty. Haled Al-araj.
We came especially to follow up on this case since today’s hearing would decide if the accused is to go before a medical committee to determine if he is competent to stand trial. The hearing was set for after the break, but the attorney said he had to wait for the chief prosecutor. In the meantime, the judge asked Malek’s father if his son was capable of following what was said in the court. I could not hear the reply, but I doubt the father himself understood the question. The attorney was asked the same question. He answered at length but I could not hear this either: it was not a categorical “No.”
We waited until 15:40 and were told that Al-araj was negotiating with the prosecution (not necessarily with the chief prosecutor). He had told us that he would try to withdraw the request for medical evaluation because it would only prolong the detention.
We could not stay in court any longer.
The following day, I called Atty. Al-araj and was told that on Monday 14.5.12 Justice Dahan will decide who Malek should report to. He promised to send me the protocol.
I have to make the following comment: Professionally speaking, it is not clear why Malek was referred to a psychiatric evaluation to determine the level of his retardation. To the best of my knowledge, a psychiatrist is not the right professional practitioner to make such a determination. A psychologist is better equipped to evaluate mental retardation.
Courtroom 1 – a panel of three judges presided by Lieut.-Col. Ronen Atzmon
Ali Abed Alhadi Ismail Saada – Case 5347/11
A young man from Hebron, accused of throwing a rock at a car coming from the opposite direction on route 60. As a result the vehicle was hit and a man and his young son were killed. This happened on 188.8.131.52.
The trial is at the evidentiary stage.
I walked into the court without prior knowledge of the case.
The defendant is represented by Atty. Bargout, who supplied the background:
The defendant claims that he could not have thrown the rock at a car coming from the opposite direction because he was sitting in the passenger seat, i.e., the right hand front seat next to the driver, so there was no way he could have thrown a rock at a car driving on the opposite lane, the left side of the road. However, under interrogation by the GSS, he was forced to accept a version by which he was sitting on the left side in the back of the car, thus incriminating himself. He later retracted that version.
The defendant’s parents were present in court, as well as 10 settlers (presumably from the settlement where the victims used to live).
Each settler held a big picture of the dead father and son, which they brandished throughout the hearing. I wonder if any judge would have allowed hoisting pictures of dead Palestinians during a legal proceeding.