Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Judge: Menahem Lieberman
First a few observations regarding (dis)order in the court: There were no dockets on the doors, and the lists we got bore Justice Zvi Heilbronn’s name, not Justice Lieberman who officiated. One list – in Court No 5 - had no ID numbers of the detainees. Perhaps this is a warning against the upcoming cuts in Defense budget.
Hussein Sadek Mahmoud Mahmoud – ID 412048639
Accused of manufacturing and throwing an incendiary object.
Defense attorney Fadi Qawasme reported that an agreement had been reached (plea bargain) whereby the accused accepts the charges and will go to prison for six months and a day, plus there is a 2000-shekel fine or 2 months in prison. Hussein Sadek seethed and protested and his attorney got angry. Altercations came fast and furious, but the guy on the bench had no chance against a fuming lawyer in black robe who tried to explain to his client the meaning of a plea bargain: if you don’t confess, the deal is off. Sadek calmed down, gave in and agreed.
Later we questioned his brother and his mother about the case. Why did he fight with his attorney?
The mother: He didn’t do anything. He was taken from home at 2 AM.
-Why did he agree to the deal?
-Had he refused, he would have gotten a stiffer punishment and it would take longer.
-Who incriminated him?
-These two guys. (There were two boys with them).
I asked the boys: Why did you point him out? Why him?
-Because they beat us and blindfolded us and made us sign a paper.
I asked the brother: Are you mad at these boys?
- No, we are friends. What choice did they have?
In other words, the usual story. There will likely be difficulty with evidence later, but when did this ever stop the military court?
Heitam Sadek Mahmoud Mahmoud – ID 412048704 (probably Sadek’s brother)
Defense: Atty. Fadi Qawasme.
There is a plea bargain in place.
Decision will be given in the next hearing.
Othman Samara Othman Bazar – ID 949598320
Defense: Ahmad Safiya
Charge: throwing objects.
I am reporting this case because I detected here a spark of defiance or civil rebellion, albeit small. The detainee refused to rise when his case was discussed. He claimed that the wardens had treated him disrespectfully, and in protest he refused to treat the court with respect.
The judge remarked that last week this detainee also refused to stand up during his court hearing; the attorney explained that the week before it was Palestinian Prisoners’ Day and all the prisoners refused to stand up in court to mark the day.
Judge: Major Samzar Shagug
Prosecution representative: Batya Piterio
Defense: Akram Samara
Ahmad Haled Abed Alrauf Hamed – Case 1075/13
Ahmad is the eldest son in his family. His father was killed “by mistake” by IDF soldiers when Ahmad was 8 years old.
He is charged – and confessed – that during a public riot at Qalandiya Checkpoint he threw a beehive (sic) of fireworks at IDF soldiers. In other words, prior to the incident perfect order existed there and everyone knew his place.
This is another example of how language shapes consciousness: if you call a demonstration riot then it follows that order has to be restored. Indeed, the soldiers rushed to the Checkpoint to impose order. Among the ‘order imposers’ was an officer by the name of Dov Malhi who claimed that the fireworks injured him. How was he injured? What happened to him? Is there medical proof? - No. There is ‘evidentiary difficulty’ in proving any injury. Malhi testified that he had indeed been injured but the injury did not require medical attention.
The penalty agreed upon by the two sides and accepted by the judge: 16 month time served starting with the day of arrest (14.11.12), 8 months suspended sentence for 3 years and 1500 shekel fine divided as follows: 1000 to Officer Malhi for the unproved injury, 500 shekel fine or alternatively 2 months in jail.
If you remember, in the earlier case of Hussein Mahmoud 2 months in jail equaled 2000 shekels while here only 1500. Why? Because of the ‘evidentiary difficulty’.
Taer Aziz Mahmoud Halahla – ID 904501798
Accused of contact with a foreign agent (he spoke on Skype with someone unknown to us).
Defense: Ahlam Hadad
On 28.5.13 Nitza Aminov reported on this case. The accused is suffering from Hepatitis B. He is in very poor condition. He claims to have contracted the disease from an injection he received from a prison dentist. He claims to have proof of it. The prosecution seeks to show that he entered the prison already sick. Three judges, on three occasions, have ordered to give him the needed medical treatment, but this has yet to be done.
The defense again requires a medical document that would detail his condition and the necessary treatment he should receive in prison. This negligence, she stresses, is counterproductive and the detainee’s health should trump all other considerations. The court, however, seems to think otherwise.
The detainee said, “What I undergo here is a slow process meant to bring about my death. I receive no medical treatment; this is a serious disease. If it affects my liver, it is terminal.”
Now comes the bureaucratic part: Before 10.6.13 an officer of the court will review court decisions from 13.5.13, 19.5.13, 28.5.13 regarding earlier referrals to medical examinations. If it turns out that medical exams had been carried out, the Prison Commander will be asked to hand over those documents. If they had not, the commander will have to follow the court orders regarding those medical examinations.
Three military judges have given orders to treat Halahla’s medical condition, yet none of it was carried out. Perhaps the man is right and the intent is to kill him.
Ayman Ali Mussa Arkoub 0 ID 950574525
(See earlier report on this case written by Mili)
The prosecution representative, Captain Avishai Kaplan, and Arkoub’s attorney, Nery Ramati, have reached an agreement. Ayman accepted the revised charge sheet and was convicted of throwing rocks aimed at people and property.
In 2011 Arkoub was convicted of throwing rocks and was sent to prison, a sentence he already served; in addition he got suspended sentence, which is still in effect until September. In the current charge, Ayman did not admit to the charges, and the prosecution relied on incriminators whose testimony was hard to come by. The weakness of the prosecution’s case and his denial of the charges prompted the prosecution to revise the indictment and thus to reach a plea bargain by which the previous suspended sentence would be extended by three years. In addition he was given a 2000-shekel fine or 2 months in jail.
Like many Palestinian youngsters living under occupation, Ayman has a
“relevant past”, a term currently in use in the military courts which denotes that the accused has been convicted and spent time in jail, probably had to pay a fine and was also given a suspended sentence, which is the case for almost all Palestinians convicted in the courts.
As long as a suspended sentence is in effect, no permits will be given to enter Israel for the purpose of work, medical treatment, visiting relatives etc. (sometimes even relatives of suspended sentence prisoners are denied entry).
This punitive method whereby a released Palestinian who has paid his debt to the authorities is under such restrictions that constrict his life and prevent him from carrying on normal life, contributes to the fact that most accused men, mostly the young, are re-arrested during the period of the suspended sentence, again and again, and for similar violations. Economic hardship impels even those who have no permit to enter Israel to seek work (they are known as ‘illegal sojourners’). Predictably, restriction on social activity and political participation in the community encourage the “suspended sentence prisoner” to engage in activities which are considered unlawful by the occupation forces, such as participation in rallies, joining political movements and illegal religious groups. This method of punishment guarantees that many Palestinians, mostly young, will spend long years in jail. For the system in charge of maintaining the occupation, this method allows it to isolate a sizable segment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories from activity that threatens the system.