Ofer - Stone Throwing, Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
There is nothing new in observing that the proceedings of the military justice system are conducted far from the public eye.
On Tuesday 9.7.13 I spent close to 9 hours in the courts. I observed all the cases defended by the indefatigable Nery Ramati, and I spoke to detainees’ families. Every visit I discover anew the arbitrariness of the system, the “creativity” it displays in imposing the laws of the occupation, the Sisyphean struggle of some attorneys and the persistence of a people determined to survive and fight for its freedom.
Judge: Deputy president Lieutenant-Colonel Sharon Rivlin Ahai
Prosecutor: Lieutenant Dvir Weisel
Defense: Nery Ramati.
Defendant: Muad Jamil Salem Alharibat – ID No. 859284994
The defendant is charged with throwing rocks at security forces. The charge is based on testimony by one soldier, corroborated by two others.
The sides agree that the soldiers were staying at an abandoned house and that rocks were thrown at them. There is also consensus that the defendant was present at the incident and that he carried a black bag containing cameras. At the time of arrest he was wearing a luminous vest identifying him as a media person working for B’tselem organization.
The protocol contains testimonies by prosecution witnesses, but the defense has a witness who testified that he is a lawyer with 35-year practice who, because of a heart condition, takes a walk every night. The witness testifies that on the day in question, as he was walking on the trail, he saw the defendant sitting on a rock facing a group of kids who were throwing rocks. The soldiers chased the kids but could not catch them, so they came back and arrested the defendant who had NOT thrown any rocks.
In the end, the judge decided that the defendant had committed the crime and she found him guilty.
Judge: President Lieut.-Col. Menahem Lieberman
Police investigator: Rafi Sabag
Defense: Nery Ramati
Defendants: Ahmad Halil Abed Abu Hashem - ID 995546645
Muhammad Abu Hashem – ID 859493918
The son, Muhammad, admitted to throwing rocks, so the remand extension hearing focused on the case of Ahmad Abu Hashem.
The investigator claims that Ahmad Abu Hashem receives money in order to incite and encourage youths and adults to throw rocks at IDF forces. One of his incriminator is his son Hamza, 12 years old, who testified on January 2013.
The suspects were arrested when their house in Beit Ummar was raided in the middle of the night.
The investigator admits that nothing has been done since January 2013, adding that the detainees had to be arrested suddenly, in the middle of the night, because of “technical constraints” (he did not elaborate).
Listening to the police investigator, I was reminded of the story of Pinocchio and wondered what would happen if the story became true: how many investigators would be walking around with very long noses?
Honest disclosure: I am proud to say that I know Abu Hashem and his family well. He was active in the Popular Committee in Beit Ummar; even though he and his sons have been imprisoned several times, they continue to struggle against the occupation and especially against the establishment of Karmei Tsur settlement on lands that belong to them.
About a year ago I attended another trial involving Abu Hashem where he was given a long prison sentence. When the verdict was read, stipulating that he is barred from participating in demonstrations, he rose to his feet and shouted, “This is my land and nobody can tell me not to protest when it is stolen from me!”
The hearing will continue on 11.7.13
(On the phone Nery Ramati told me that an additional hearing would take place on 14.7.13).
Judge: Lieut.-Col. Menahem Lieberman
Prosecutor: Captain Asher Silver
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
Defendant: Ahmad Daoud Sabati Hawaja, ID 93743260 – File 3454/13
(see earlier report of this case)
Ahmad Hawaja is accused of being a member and holding a position in a hostile organization (Hamas).
The hearing starts with examination of Prosecution Witness Abed Alrahman Srur. The witness insists throughout that he has no idea why he is detained. He does not know the accused, does not know who signed his police statement: it is not his signature and he does not remember the interrogation at all.
Half way through the examination the judge remembers that the witness has not been informed that whatever he says during the examination cannot be used against him in his trial. The prosecutor immediately apprises the witness of that fact. The witness however does not change his version: he does not know anything and does not remember anything.
In cross-examination it transpires that the witness was arrested at 3 AM, was taken to the Russian Compound detention center where he said nothing. Then he was given over to police informers. There were about 20 people there who threatened him with grave harm if he did not ‘sing’. He was kept there for a week – under constant threats, and still said nothing.
At this point the defense said [from protocol]: “Don’t be offended, but I think you are lying to me. Bigger and stronger men than you, when handed over to police informers start spewing nonsense, and you, who have never been in prison, were able to keep mum?”
His answer: Those police informers talked a lot, while I kept quiet.
Prosecution Witness No. 2, Ahmad Srur
This time the court remembers to inform the witness that whatever he says will not be used against him.
The witness testifies that he is accused of throwing rocks. Like the previous witness, he does not know anything, does not remember anything, does not know the defendant and said nothing during his interrogations.
A third witness was supposed to testify, but apparently he had not been brought to Ofer.
Judge: Lieut.-Col. Menahem Lieberman
Prosecutor: Asher Silver
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
Defendant: Rana Nabil Alrahim Hamada – ID 412514432
(See earlier reports on this case)
Rana is supposed to leave the country on 25.7.13 to continue her studies in Canada, so she was tried separately from Nariman Tamimi.
At the defense’s request the hearing was postponed by a week in order to consider a procedural arrangement or a bargain with the prosecution.
An arraignment hearing was set for 17.7.13.
Defendant: Nariman Mahmoud Hasan Tamimi – ID 411693005
The defense [from the protocol]: We’d like to present a preliminary proposition for selective enforcement. We are attempting to obtain investigation material connected to this preliminary proposition. On the other hand, we don’t expect this court to issue an indictment citing a violation of the order presented during the demonstration.”
Arraignment hearing was set for 3.9.13.