Russian Compound, Jerusalem - Remand Extension, Barred (from meeting with attorney)
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Ami Navon
Police Investigator: Omri Awwida
Defense: Atty. Mahmoud Hassan, Atty. Qawasme
Three cases were heard, two of them of detainees that were barred from seeing an attorney.
1. Hamza Zakaria Ibrahim Zaul – ID 852843424
2. Ashraf Halil Mahmoud Abu Aram – ID 910763838
3. Muhammad Anwar Mahmoud Zeitun – ID 850996620
Detainees 2 and 3 are the ones barred from meeting their defense
Both are represented by Atty. Mahmoud Hassan.
Hamza Zakaria Ibrahim Zaul
Accused of attacking a settler and a group of settlers that attacked him in retaliation.
There is an agreement for a 4-day remand extension in order to complete the investigation and transfer the case to the military prosecution.
The police interrogator claims that the charge is “stabbing”, while the defense claims that the detainee had been “attacked”. They agree to the remand extension and to the transfer of the case to the prosecution.
Ashraf Halil Mahmoud Abu Aram
Defense: Mahmoud Hassan
The hearing of this “barred” detainee is divided in two: the first part is conducted without the detainee’s presence: he is represented by his attorney. In the second part, the attorney leaves and the judge and the investigator question the detainee. Invoking the principle of public hearings– and armed with the High Court of Justice preliminary injunction – we ask to be present in the second part of the hearing as well. The police interrogator immediately requests an “in camera” hearing. Justice Navon reads the High Court’s recommendation, listens to the interrogator and then rules that we have to leave the court. He argues that it is a sensitive case and that the court has to make sure nothing leaks outside. “Not by you, to be sure…”
Justice Navon explains that “in camera” means only those who need to know should be present. He says we should trust him on that one.
Ashraf was arrested on 27.9.12. This is his third remand extension. Since 24.10.12 he has been prohibited from conferring with his attorney.
The police investigator requests a 15-day remand extension.
The charges are: military activity against the security in the area, membership in the Popular Front [of the Liberation of Palestine] and providing services for an unlawful organization.
The defense has a few questions:
Q: Has he been “barred” since his arrest? A: Yes.
Q: Has he made a police statement after the last remand extension, 14 days ago? A: Yes, there are two police statements.
Q: Does his statement conform to the charges against him? A: We investigate all manner of activities (refers to the confidential file).
Q: How many hours a day has he been interrogated? Yesterday, for instance. A: Yesterday he was interrogated from 10:45 until 20:10.
Q: How long is the memorandum of such a long interrogation? A: 6 pages (a discussion ensues about 6 pages for such a long interrogation: the judge sides with the investigator: There is no connection between the length of the interrogation and the number of pages).
Q: Was the detainee handcuffed during the interrogation? (The investigator did not know the answer to this question.) Atty. Hassan asks the judge to pose this question to the detainee when the latter appears before him. The judge and the interrogator examine the report and find out that on that particular day the detainee rested in his cell for one hour. The attorney asks a few more questions, but is referred to the confidential file.
The attorney asks the court not to conclude the hearing before he gets Ashraf’s answers to the judge’s questions. Then we all left the court. When we returned, after the detainee’s examination by the court, Justice Navon tells the defense: He was properly interrogated. As for the handcuffs, yes, his hands were shackled but not his feet. Yes, he was given food, was not physically hurt; he may have been mentally hurt, but, says the judge, such injuries are a subjective matter.
The defense sums up: Ashraf was arrested on 27.9.12, and since then has not been allowed to see an attorney. He gave a [police] statement, but the investigators want him to give information that he cannot provide because he has no knowledge. 15 more days is a lot of time! The court should consider his status as a “barred” detainee when it comes to extending his remand.
The judge’s decision: These are serious charges. After examining the file, he decides on a 7-day remand extension.
But here’s a problem: there are holidays during that period, so either 6 or 8 days. Finally, they hit on the right number: 9.
The judge reads his decision to the detainee, in our presence.
Muhammad Anwar Mahmoud Zeitun
Defense: Mahmoud Hassan
The investigator and the judge both explain to the defense that the charge in this case is the same as in Ashraf’s case and that an agreement about 9 days can be reached, saving the court’s time.
The defense agrees, provided that the prohibition to see an attorney is lifted, when its term expires tomorrow. If there is an extension, the defense will have to appeal to the High Court, hence the attorney needs to know for sure that the prohibition is not extended. The investigator goes out to find out and when he returns he says, perhaps they’ll extend it, perhaps not.
The defense rejects the agreement and poses some questions:
Q: The detainee was arrested on 30.9.12. Has he given a statement to the police? A: Yes.
Q: When was the last statement given? A: 10.10.12.
Q: Has he added details since then? A: This is confidential.
Q: Is the second version different from the first? A: I’m not at liberty to answer.
Q: How many times since then has he been interrogated? A: Several times. About 15 frontal interrogations.
Q: How many hours? A: from 8 PM to 7 AM.
As for breaks in the interrogation, the answer is: several breaks.
The defense seeks clarification: You mean that he was sleep deprived?
The investigator insists that all the interrogations were conducted properly and legally.
At another time the detainee was interrogated from 5 AM until 19:30. And there were breaks.
The question of sleep deprivation bothers the defense. He asks to present his summation after the judge interrogates the detainee, but the judge is reluctant to waste so much of the court’s precious time and asks to give the closing remarks at this stage, before interrogating the detainee.
The defense again asks the judge to question the detainee about the night interrogations and how he felt about it.
At this point we left the court and we did not come back to hear the judge’s decision.