Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Major Samzar Sagog (newly appointed permanent judge)
We were unable to obtain a printout of the docket, but got a hand-written one with only case numbers but no IDs.
Ayman Ali Musa Abu Arkub – Case 3100/13
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
We came in while the hearing was in session. Ayman Abu Arkub is a resident of Beituniya. He was arrested a few days ago, charged with throwing rocks.
Atty. Ramati pointed out that in 2011 the accused was imprisoned for the same violation. This time, the charge is due either to a mistaken identity or to incrimination. The accused claims to have an alibi. To the judge’s question, he replied that on the day of the incident he was in Ramallah. The defense asked to set the hearing as soon as possible, as the case can be resolved in one day.
Kamal Aata Hassan Agrab – Case 1969/13
Defense: Atty. Akram Samara
The official charge sheet was not presented, but in his examination, Prosecution Witness No. 17 recounted in detail the incident involving the accused.
Prosecution Witness Yacov Gentzler (a small, scrawny man) is a rep for a cell phone company. He claims that an order of 60 phones was made – by phone – whereby he was to deliver the phones to the buyer at a checkpoint (we did not catch its name). Since he became suspicious, he brought with him only 20 phones, holding in his hand a bag containing three. He got to the checkpoint at night; he called the buyer and spoke with him intermittently as the call was suspiciously cut off. Still, he crossed the checkpoint, although it was already dark. He locked his car – the hand brake was pulled and he kept the motor running in case he had to flee. Two men approached him (one, the accused, the other he could not identify). He opened the window on the right side. The men asked to get in to talk to him. He was given a bag, supposedly containing the payment for the merchandise. But its weight aroused his suspicion. The accused tried to grab the cardboard box containing the phones, opened the car door, snuck in from behind and tried to strangle him. A scuffle ensued: he cannot remember who punched whom. The accused said, “I’ll kill you”. The bag with three phones was snatched from him and was given to the other man. The car started moving, but he was able to push the accused out of the car and the latter fell to the ground. He drove a couple of hundred meters to the checkpoint, and it took him an hour and half to calm down. He has to reimburse the company for the stolen phones (since his boss warned him not to cross the checkpoint).
Atty. Samara cross examined the witness, focusing on the details. We could not always follow the line of defense. There were questions about the price of the cell phones, which kept changing (the witness claims that the price varies according to demand); questions regarding crossing the checkpoint despite his premonitions (the answer focused mostly on the poor working conditions of contract agents: (“When you have to bring a million shekels to the boss every month, and you have a wife and kid, you take chances.”); why didn’t he complain to the soldiers at the checkpoint? (He was in shock); why did he report to the police only 20 days later? The witness answered the questions patiently. He did not seem badgered and tried to focus on the incident and on his own reactions (not unlike reports by women who underwent rape).
Other questions by the defense indicated a clearer line of defense: they concerned the identification of the accused. How could the witness identify him in the dark (answer: he was inside the car and when the door opened the light came on and he could see the man). How could he identify him after 20 days? (answer: the incident was etched in his memory). Had he been shown photos before he lodged a complaint? (No, afterwards). One photo? (No, eight). Was he confronted with the accused (whose voice he identified clearly) before he was shown the photo? (No, afterwards). At the police station he testified that the accused did not have white hair, while in fact he has (when the incident occurred the accused had a stubble, not a beard like the one he sports now).
The examination ended. It was long and exhausting. Two witnesses were scheduled to testify in the afternoon. On Thursday the evidentiary session will resume.
Yasser Nasser Ratab Skapi – Case 2149/13
Defense: Atty. Muhammad Shaheen
The defense presented an agreement, which was accepted by the court. The accused threw rocks during a disturbance in Hebron on 18.2.13. He was sentenced to five and a half months in prison, 6-month suspended sentence for three years and a 1000 -shekels fine, or an alternative prison time. Grounds for the sentence: no record relevant to this case, confession that saves the court’s time and the fact that the rocks caused no damage.
Iyad Shwaabi Said Abu Shaira – Case 2831/13
Defense: Atty. Muhammad Shaheen
Iyad’s relatives were not present in court. The judge asked if the court should wait for them, and the defense explained that economic hardship prevents the family from coming to court every time there’s a hearing.
The attorney later told us that Iyad is 21. He was arrested about 3 weeks ago in Hebron, charged with throwing an incendiary object. At his investigation he accepted the charges, and the attorney explained that his situation is very complicated: he had already served time for three years for similar charges and there is a suspended sentence in effect for those charges.
Atty. Shaheen tried to help his client. He started by denying the charges in Iyad’s name
Today Iyad was presented with a revised charge sheet. The defense asked to postpone the hearing until after Ramadan in order to negotiate with the prosecution at length. He also asked to refer the accused to observation by mental practitioners and to allow him to phone his family.
The judge acceded to the attorney’s requests.
Next hearing set for 8.8.13.
Wajdi Said Hussein Nofel – Case 47461/13
In a short session the accused was charged with possession of weapon (hunting rifle) and with using said weapon on five occasions. [We gathered that the accused is under administrative detention]
His family was in court.
His defense, Haled Al Araj came in for a few minutes and conferred with his client in loud voice, which many in the court were able to hear and understand. It sounded like an attempt to convince the accused that the agreement reached with the prosecution is the best that could be obtained on his behalf.
Haled Al Araj left before the judge spoke, leaving one of his aids to obtain the protocol and talk with the family. The court accepted the plea bargain and the judge sentenced the man to 6 months and 5 days in prison and a suspended sentence of 8 months. There was no fine.