Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Amir Dahan
Prosecutor: Mughira Sarhan
Defense: Ahlam Hadad
We observed several trials: in some of them we were not sure what the charges were. When the indictment says, “holding a position”, it can mean anything, from heading the [Palestinian] Authority to membership in the legislative assembly, or religious or administrative function such as leading Koran classes etc.
In the case of Muhammad Mahmoud Dib Badrana – ID 854139920 - it was membership in the Kutla Al-Islamiya student organization. The defense requested a postponement in order to confer with the prosecution. This indicates an attempt to reach a plea bargain whereby the defendant would accept the charges in return for a lighter sentence. Outside, in the yard we asked the defense attorney what the charges against Badrana were. She scoffed and said, “candy”. Apparently the members of the Kutla Al-Islamiya handed out candy at a school party the year before. The GSS however may have a different take on this.
The trial will resume next Thursday, 27.9.12. Perhaps we’ll find out more about the GSS’s perspective and how it sees higher education in the occupied territories.
Iman Ahmad Suleiman Aladam – ID 903892867, accused of providing services (to an unauthorized organization) – another variation on the charged brought against Mahmoud Badana. Iman Aladam was not represented by an attorney. Perhaps he wanted to plead for himself, perhaps he thought he did not need an attorney. Justice Dahan explained that forgoing a defense would only help the prosecution, but Iman was adamant. In an earlier hearing, on 19.9.12 (which we did not attend) the prosecution deposed Nadav Levin, a traffic engineer.
Ahmad Abed Alaziz Saleh Mubarak – ID 98144100
Defense: Jamil Hatib
Ahmad Mubarak, too, is accused of holding a position. He is a member of the Palestinian parliament, in charge of refugees. His wife told us that he had been arrested 3.5 months ago, taken from his home at 2:30 AM. His attorney requested a postponement. Later, in the yard, he told us that the reason for the arrest are the upcoming elections for the legislative assembly, which cause much debate in the Palestinian street. Someone must have consulted Mr. Mubarak. It is my surmise – the attorney did not say this explicitly – that the GSS keeps an eye on the present and future members of the legislative assembly; they know who consults whom and they seize this opportunity to intimidate and to extract money through fines. Hence the arrest of the consultants – between 30 and 40 people, according to the attorney.
So far we attended three hearings dealing with various activities connected with membership and activity in unlawful organizations.
The next defendant, Marwan Faiz Muhammad Rajbi – ID 911501666 – is accused of possessing and trading in combat materiel. He came from home, which means that he is released on bail and not deemed by the esteemed court to pose danger (to soldiers and settlers). It transpired that the defendant kept in his home a carbine that had belonged to his grandfather. A google search yielded that the gun was manufactured in 1942 and is still used by the Civil Guard. At any rate, the gun found in Rajbi’s house was not serviceable – it did not function, but it could be repaired.
It is my contention that if in 43 years the gun has not been fired, it is reasonable to assume that it was kept for sentimental reasons, not for purposes of sedition and endangerment, but the army obviously thought otherwise.
Sentence: 6 months suspended sentence plus 2000 shekel fine to be deducted from the deposits Marwan had posted earlier: 500 and 2000 shekels separately.
Malek Mahmud Ali Alama – ID 852933068
Defense: Haled Alaraj
About a month ago the attorney received the report of the Committee on Mentally Challenged Persons, which concluded that Malek is capable of understanding what he’s told and that he is eligible to stand trial.
We came to court expressly to observe this trial, but in the event, the hearing was very short. Four witnesses for the prosecution were supposed to testify today: Eyal Amar, Maher Hneifes (known to our readers from Haya Ofek’s reports on Etzion DCL [District Coordination and Liaison Office]), Muhammad Nasser Alama and Muhammad Bassem Alama – two of Malek’s relatives who took part in the rock throwing incident. The attorney accepted that the witnesses would not testify in court. The judge asked Malek if he understood what that meant and he said yes (did he even comprehend the question??) Thus, the witnesses were not brought in and their testimonies will be submitted in writing.
The defense wanted the next hearing to take place two days after the sentencing in the case of Yussef Alame, Malek’s accomplice. He thought he would be able to convince the prosecution that the special circumstances of his client’s case warrant a considerable reduction in penalty, based on the sentence of Yussef Alame. The attorney expects the verdict to be published by the end of this month.
Justice Dahan considered the special circumstances of Malek’s case; he said he could not disclose details due to privacy concerns. People can draw their own conclusions. Perhaps the judge himself sees in this testimony to Malek’s difficulties. The judge also said that he would ask Justice Heilbronn (the judge in the case of Malek’s accomplice) when the latter plans to hand down his verdict, and then set the next hearing of Malek’s case accordingly.