Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Hagit’s report from Courtroom 2
In the first hour of today’s session the court (presided by Avraham Einhorn, whose military rank I do not know) dealt with three out of 15 cases in the docket -11 were remand extensions and four were summoned for guarantee examination.
The prosecutor, Yossi Brachia, moves for remand extension until the conclusion of the proceedings for the first detainee of the three arrested on charges of rock throwing. This detainee was identified by two witnesses cross-examined 4 months ago. In addition, five years ago he was given suspended sentence for a similar offense, which – according to the prosecutor – no longer obtains, but adds weight to considerations for punishment in the present case.
Atty. Lubani, representing the defendant, asks the court to release his client under certain conditions. The detainee is 35 years old, married with 5 kids. He was incriminated by testimony given four months ago but without specific details: when and where the witness saw him throw rocks, how many people participated in the incident, how many times did they throw the rocks etc. Another witness testifies that he knows the defendant but did not see him throw rocks.
Atty. Lubani states that there is no conclusive evidence and that detention is not called for. The judge, however, pronounces his decision right away, whispering it to the typist: detention until the conclusion of the proceedings.
Arraignment hearing is set for 6.1.13.
In two other cases there is an agreement between the prosecutor and Atty. Iyad Galid. Again, the judge whispers his decision in the typist’s ears. The interpreter does not translate. Perhaps the defendants and their families will hear about their fate from the attorney. The attorney in the meantime disappeared from the court, and the prosecutor said no other cases were ready for hearing. Perhaps the prosecution was not done preparing them, or else they ended up in another judge’s court.
The judge called for a break. When the hearing resumed, there were again some delays: this time there was a hearing, but the defendant was not brought in.
Norah’s report from Courtroom 1
Several trials of minors took place in this court. A large group from Holland attended the trials, as well as a representative of Defense Children International.
Mouaeyed Yussuf Muhammad Abed Alkarim,ID 950587857 – Case 4733/12 (not a minor)
Prosecutor: Lieut. Daniel Meuda
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
Charge: throwing rocks and preventing a soldier from carrying out his duties
The judge gave his decision whether to detain the defendant until the conclusion of the proceedings (as the prosecution had requested in previous hearings) or alternatively, release him to house arrest (as the defense requested).
The judge concluded: “On 18.11.12 the defendant, together with others, threw rocks at IDF forces in Budrus. The defendant resisted arrest, shoved the policemen and hurled a shoe at them.”
The judge noted that “not much evidence exists” – as the defense had argued all along– “the policemen erred in the identity of the accused… there are inconsistencies in their testimonies… the unit’s commander Shua insisted that the rock thrower was about 17 years old, whereas the defendant is 25 and did not take part in the incident. Suissa identified the defendant, when he was at the police station, as the culprit, but it is possible that he meant to arrest the defendant’s brother, whom he identified as the rock thrower… due to a misunderstanding or because of the confusion, the defendant was the one arrested…”
The defendant, a policeman in the Palestinian Authority (The State of Palestine) denied the allegations, claiming he was working at home when the incident took place. His alibi was not checked. Moreover, there were discrepancies between the testimonies of Shua and Suissa regarding the clothes that the rock thrower was wearing, as well as about his first name. Suissa wrote Muhammad, and then changed it to Mouayed.
The judge reiterated that the investigation had been conducted sloppily.
Based on those arguments, he decided to release the defendant to partial house arrest - when he is not working at his job– at the home of his uncle (who had been vetted earlier by the court and found capable of fulfilling the court’s conditions). In addition, 7500 shekels would have to be deposited and the uncle would have to post a 10,000 -shekel guarantee. Since the family cannot afford such a sum, a hearing was convened for 4.12.12 to discuss the guarantee.
An arraignment hearing was set for 12.12.12 before Justice Etty Adar.
The prosecution requested a postponement of 72 hours in order to appeal the decision.
In the meantime I found out that a plea bargain had been negotiated on 4.12.12: the charge sheet was amended. Only the charge of “disturbing a soldier” remained.
Penalty: 31 days in jail and a suspended sentence that includes rock throwing, plus a 1500-shekel fine.