Ofer - Remand Extension, Membership/activity in unauthorized association
Translation: Marganit W.
Today is the last day of the Druze Holiday Nabi Shuayeb and the absence of Druze soldiers at Ofer is very marked. There were few hearings, all taking place in one Courtroom.
At the entrance a soldier informed me that I could not get in: I need a special permit because “this is a secured military court.” At that point I was not aware of the Druze holiday, so I phone Hamdan [Public Relations Officer], who is also Druze. He was at home (I could here children in the background), but he answered right away and took care of the problem.
All hearings took place in Courtroom 1
presiding Justice Lieut – Col. Menahem Lieberman [head of the Judea court] .
As always, it was hard to follow all the details of each case. I hoped to get the missing information from the protocols, but the interpreter today was a reserve duty soldier who did not know about the option of supplying me with protocols. He did not hear my request, and during the break I found out that the protocols would be available only after the break.
Those who do not know that the military courts were instituted after the conquest of the West Bank by dint of military edict and are part and parcel of the system by which the state of Israel, the occupier, controls the Palestinian population, could perhaps infer from the judge’s conduct that the courts are working just fine.
The judge reprimanded one attorney for not wearing a robe and another, who wore a robe, but not a white shirt and black tie.
His honor perused every relevant part of the indictment. One case involved a young man from Jahalin. He was brought in by a policeman who then proceeded to serve as prosecutor. The latter informed the court that the young man’s father had told him during the interrogation that the family could not afford a lawyer.
The judge decided on a 6-day remand extension – not 8, as the police had requested – but he was not at all perturbed by the fact that there was no defense attorney.
In another case the judge told the prosecutor to amend the indictment [the charge was membership in an unlawful organization] because the incriminator – who was also the recruiter, admitted that the defendant, who denied the allegations, was telling the truth and had refused to join the organization.
And yet, despite the judge’s displeasure with the prosecution’s performance in several of the cases, it was never suggested that until the prosecution checks the facts and prepares a more acceptable case, the defendant could be sent home.