Ofer - Stone Throwing, Health Problems
Translation: Marganit W.
Follow-up on the trial of Malek Alalami
Today we received the indictment of Malek Alalami that we had requested. Once again, we saw proof of the sloppiness that led to false charges in the indictment presented to the military court. The charges are phrased in a mechanical, repetitive manner. The signature on the document was that of military prosecutor Mazi Mekonen, while the interrogator who questioned Malek is Zaki Horani. They must be proud of their handiwork. The trial of Malek (mentally challenged and partially deaf) is a prism through which we can see clearly how the system works. How is a person charged in the military courts? The charge is based on the interrogation of the detainee as it is recorded in the memorandum. That document is not in my hands, but one can reconstruct the exchange between Malek and the interrogator from the indictment.
The first count of the indictment states that Malek took part in rock throwing on three occasions.
-Where? – “On Route 60 or nearby”.
-When? – “In 2010 or thereabout”.
Who can disprove such allegations, which do not specify time or place? The indictment mentions 6 witnesses. Wouldn’t they testify to the time and place?
The second count says that in Dec. 2011 the accused drove a Subaru with two friends and on the way they threw rocks at a police car.
He drove the vehicle? This is as absurd as claiming that he operated a particle accelerator.
Then comes a description of some very vicious rocks: “The rocks that the accused and Yusuf threw hit the police car, landing under the moving vehicle, and continued to interfere with the driving.” Weird.
We now return to Malek’s interrogation. The allegations are so infuriating; it is hard to imagine what a dialog with a retarded detainee who is hard of hearing sounds like. This is how I imagine it:
Since the indictment mentions three friends of Malek who had already been detained, accepted the charges and incriminated him, the interrogator asked Malek if he admitted that he had thrown rocks on three occasions two years earlier (or thereabout!).
Malek must have nodded and maybe even said ‘Yes’.
The interrogator asked if he did it with three friends. Malek must have nodded, maybe even said ‘Yes’.
Then the interrogator asked if he drove the car on 26.12.11 or thereabout. Malek must have nodded and maybe even said ‘Yes’.
Etc. Etc. Had he been asked if he were Arlozorov’s assassin, he would probably have nodded and said ‘Yes’. The interrogator must have been pleased to have such a compliant detainee. He even made him stamp his finger on this report. The interrogator, after all, was only following orders. He was told to interrogate and he did. Based on his report, the prosecutor wrote a bizarre and slipshod indictment, which leaves doubts as to who drove behind whom, in which direction, and what does it prove anyway.
Since then, however, several things happened. After Haya’s statement in court, Malek was sent for an interview with the regional psychiatrist. The latter’s deputy recommended Malik be re-evaluated by a diagnostics committee at the Mental Health Services, as well as by an ENT specialist to determine if he is hard of hearing. The report was sent to the court.
Justice Amir Dahan ordered to send him to the committee as soon as possible.
Another internal memorandum hearing was scheduled for 17.5.12. Until then, the IPS (Israel Prison Service) will report on the progress of this case: if Malek has been seen by the committee and examined by a specialist. If he has not – another hearing will be scheduled.
Here are my questions:
Why didn’t they release him on bail until the trial? He was not a flight risk.
If the Mental Health Committee determines that:
A. Malek could not possibly drive a car.
B. He could not possibly throw rocks from a moving car while driving it.
C. Because of his deafness he could not have heard the interrogator’s questions, so all his “answers” are trumped up.
So what can we expect? Will they acknowledge that it is morally, ethically wrong to mass -produce hundreds of indictments for violations that the occupation engenders and perpetuates ignoring the absurd content of those indictments? In any event, all the defendants confess and the courts almost always believe the soldiers and the policemen.
And last but not least: what was the role of Malek’s defense attorney? Was he doing his duty?
Judge: Major Amir Dahan
Prosecutor: Lieutenant Avishai Kaplan
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
Defendant: Muhammad Abed Alkader Mahmoud Amira,ID910285972 – Case 3197/11
The defendant has been released on bail and came from his home in N’ilin. He is a high school teacher. He came with defense witness Sa’eed Amira, a photographer from N’ilin.
Muhammad Amira is accused of incitement and support of an unlawful organization as well as of obstructing a soldier.
The charges relate to an “event” [demonstration] that occurred on 15.6.11 when Amira was arrested.
The first witness testified that he is an independent journalist/photographer working with “B’Tzelem”. He shot the two films that are used as evidence.
In cross-examination, the prosecutor asked if the witness supplied the English subtitles, “A Peaceful Demonstration Against the Expansion of the Illegal Settlement Nil”i…
Answer: The witness shot the film and handed it over to an Israeli. He is not sure about the content of the subtitles. There was an incident in the village of Dir-Kadis (that borders on N’ilin]. He heard of construction works and of a demonstration taking place there and came over.
Defense Witness No. 2 is the defendant himself.
It was apparent from the prosecutor’s examination that he sought to base the main charge on incitement. His aim was to prove that Muhammad Amira is a leader of the N’ilin demonstrations. He asked why Muhammad went from N’ilin to Dir Kadis on 15.6.11.
Answer: I saw tractors near my plot and went to check out what was going on.
He added that his wife is from Dir Kadis and some of the land belongs to her family, so he went there to ask the guards what was going on, and they began to shoot… “I tried to stop him [the guard] to find out what was happening.”
Later on in the examination Muhammad insisted that he had been arrested because he is from N’ilin [which is the focus of the army’s attention because of the demonstrations that regularly take place there]
The prosecutor wanted to know if he is a “leader” that people follow.
Answer: I am a teacher in N’ilin. Perhaps because I am a teacher, people listen to me…
Question: I am telling you that you played a central role in the demonstration… you are charged that when the demonstrators were dispersed by tear gas, you told them to come back…
Answer: I was arrested because I am from N’ilin…
The prosecutor played a scene from the film where someone says “Ta’alu” [come] and asked Muhammad if it was his voice.
Answer: Maybe I called to them to get away from the gas and the soldiers…
Question: Now you claim that you came to check on your land, yours and your wife’s family…why didn’t you mention this to the interrogator?
Answer: In Israel there is a right to keep silent. When a man is angry he does not want to talk…
It transpired later that the military vehicle where the arrested Muhammad was held went through the checkpoint near Ni’lin, the commander standing there – who did not know him personally – said, “Here’s Muhammad Amira. In other words, he had been marked beforehand as a wanted man.
This is not the first time that Amira is arrested: in 2008 he was brought to trial and was acquitted. So they continue to try to indict him.
(See additional details of the hearing in the attached protocol - Hebrew).
Summation hearing was scheduled for the trial but a map of the region was missing from the file. The prosecutor stated, “We need the map to ask the defendant a few questions…” [to determine who owns the land where the incident occurred?]
Thus, a continuation was scheduled to complete the cross examination regarding the map and for summation – for 20.6.12 at 10 AM.