Ofer - Stone Throwing, Minors
Translation: Marganit W.
On Monday Aya and I went to the court: as soon as we got out of the car, two men beckoned to us from behind the fence that separates the detainees’ families from Israeli visitors. They told us that they were from Al-Fajer: their young sons were arrested a few days earlier.
[On Yom Kippur I read in the website of Ma’an News Agency about the arrest of minors in Al-Fajer, N.A.]
The youngsters were supposed to be released on Sunday, but they were not. The parents spent the night in the area and returned to the court early in the morning, but were refused entry. They hoped we could help them get in, or at least find out what was going on. We told them that we were unable to help.
Their attorney is al-Araj, but he had not returned their phone calls.
While waiting, I saw the attorney arrive; he went to talk to them. I asked him what was going on, and he said that the boys were scheduled for administrative release [meaning that the detainee is released before the scheduled date: the purpose is to alleviate the crowdedness in the prisons].
Atty. Al-Araj reported that on Sunday there were no administrative releases so the boys were not released. He did not know if releases would be made today, so he could not enlighten the parents.
We observed several hearings in different halls. Most were of remand extensions.
We were particularly interested in Atty. Nery Ramati’s appeal of the conviction of Zeyn Abu Maria.
[See earlier reports on this case]
Representatives of DCI and the media were present. The judge ordered the hearing behind closed doors [the convicted petitioner is a minor].
So we left the court and went to another hall where the hearing of
Uday Nuh Mahmoud Araj from Qalandiya Refugee Camp was in progress.
Uday has been in jail since 1.7.13. He was incriminated by two other detainees. The charge is throwing rocks.
Atty. Akram Samara requested a postponement.
Uday’s parents were in court. When they left, we went out to talk with them.
You may remember that on 26.8.13 the IDF killed three Palestinians in the refugee camp and injured several others. Muhammad Alaraj (Uday’s brother), 14 years old, was injured when the army broke into their house. He was injured in the leg and taken by ambulance to a hospital in Ramallah. For some reason he was later transferred to Hadassah on Mount Scopus. The parents said that he was being operated on as we spoke, but they could not obtain an entry permit, so Muhammad was lying in hospital alone.
The Blue Box
When we were children we had the “Israel National Fund Blue Box” which as the song put it, “Every penny that goes in helps redeem the land”.
At Ofer there is another box. At the waiting yard, there used to be a cupboard with locked compartments where you could deposit your belongings. To our surprise, three weeks ago we noticed that the old lockers had been replaced by new ones, operated by an outside company. Now you need a 5- shekel coin, which is NOT given back. People waiting in the yard told us that it is not clear what objects are allowed in court, so visitors are sent back to the lockers: each time depositing 5 more shekels. One woman told us that she had to go back four times, spending 20 shekels!