Ofer - Stone Throwing, Interrogation of Witness

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Nitza Aminov, Hagit Shlonsky (reporting)


Translation: Marganit W.


Due to long delays at the entrance to the court, we arrived toward the end of the hearing of Zeyn Hashem Halil Abu Maria, ID 854841111–Case 1980/12.

The defendant is a 15-year old boy from Beit Ummar. He was arrested ten months ago.


The four documents we collected regarding this case reveal a depressing and convoluted story [charge sheet, judge’s decision from the evidentiary hearing of 2.12.12 and two protocols dated 16.12.12: the defense move to release the defendant  and an evidentiary hearing).


We hereby sum it up.

Zeyn is accused of participating in rock throwing at Beit Ummar junction on February 2012. Two weeks later, on 7.3.12, he was arrested at home. The alleged rocks hit and damaged several vehicles. The prosecution summoned 10 witnesses, 3 among them also participated in the incident and incriminated Zeyn.


For seven months Atty. Theodory negotiated with the prosecution, trying to reach an agreement. When his attempt failed, Atty. Nery Ramati was appointed and lengthy evidentiary hearings ensued.


In the 2.12.12 hearing the prosecution requested a postponement, so a confidentiality certificate could be issued for one witness. The defense objected claiming that granting this request would further prolong the trial blowing it out of proportions for a trial of a minor. Moreover, the defense argued that the evidence in the case is weak and inconclusive, that Zeyn’s rights had been violated and that he was made to incriminate himself. The defense moved to release his client, arguing for sending him home under restricted conditions and against guarantees.

The court sided with the prosecution and delayed the witness’s testimony until his confidentiality could be guaranteed.


In the hearing on the morning of 16.12.12 the defense argued again for an alternative to detention and for the release of his client to his father’s supervision, plus monetary guarantees. Reports by a psychologist and a social worker were presented, both supporting a release under certain conditions.


The judge, Arie Dorani, handed down his decision 4 days later: he rejected the move to release Zeyn.


During the afternoon session on 16.12.12 another evidentiary hearing took place, under Justice Major Shahar Greenberg.

There was a re-examination of a witness who had taken the defendant’s statement on which the charge was based. The witness stated that a technical malfunction occurred during the taping of the statement whereby the mandatory warning he had read to the defendant was erased. In the warning he had explained – he claimed –the charge, the right to consult an attorney and the defendant’s right to remain silent.