Ofer - Stone Throwing, Health Problems
Translation: Marganit W.
A large crowd of Palestinian families waited in the yard in front of entrance to the court. I had to wait 45 minutes [after two phone calls to Adham, the Liason Officer].
It is hard to describe the confusion in the courtroom; the hubbub that made it impossible to follow what was going on: detainees, attorneys, GSS officers and family members were coming and going; it is not clear by what criteria those people were admitted to enter and leave.
The docket was long – 40 cases. I will report on two of them.
Judge: Major (Ret.) Avri Einhorn
Prosecutor: Atty. Captain Alona Asher
Defense: Atty. Nasser Nubani
Noor Aladin Atallah Muhammad Yassin, ID 852413038 – Case 5439/13
Yassin is accused of throwing rocks at soldiers at Bituniya Checkpoint.
The prosecution requested remand extension to complete the investigation; the defense stated that his client rejects the allegations and that he did not even sign a police statement. Moreover, he claimed, Yassin could not have thrown rocks at Bituniya checkpoint, because at the time he was being interrogated at Ofer in connection with another charge and could not have been present at the checkpoint, as other prosecution witnesses testified.
The judge, however, chose to accept the prosecution’s version – “there is evidentiary basis” – and consequently he did not release the detainee on bail. Instead, he ordered him remanded in custody until the conclusion of the proceedings.
Fareed Fadel Muhammad Abu Miala, ID 850552357 - Case 4918/13
A resident of Hebron
Defense: Atty. Munther Abu Ahmad
An uncle of the accused is present in court.
The accused is deaf-mute, so the hearing was mediated by a Sign Language interpreter.
Abu Miala is accused of staying illegally inside Israel, plus some property violations.
He was arrested on 29.8.13.
The hearing centered on reducing the bail for his release.
The defense said that prior to the holiday (Eid Al-Idha) an agreement had been reached, but since then the family has been unable to provide the necessary sum: they can only pay 2000 shekels, which is Abu Miala’s monthly salary.
The prosecution objected to the defense’s motion arguing that “there are no documents” proving the family’s penury. “These are criminal acts of obvious economic nature” she argued.
The accused was given the floor (through the interpreter): “I have a wife and four children: the oldest 7 the youngest a baby. My mother is in hospital, my father in custody. We have no money, except what I earn.” [Thus, these are indeed “criminal acts of obvious economic nature” but they result from dire economic straits. N.O.]
The judge accepted that the accused cannot post the required bail: his collaborators were released through a plea bargain that stipulated 39 days in prison, whereas Abu Miala has already been detained for 54 days. Thus, the judge decided to drastically reduce the bail to 4000 shekels [I do not know what the original sum was – N.O.]
Further hearing in this case was set for 27.10.13.
The interpreter was paid 600 shekels (the rate is 200 per hour: she was in court for 4 hours, namely almost 4 hours before the case came up).
Judge: Major Samzar Shagug
Prosecutor: Captain Dvir Wiesel
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
Sajed Yussef Muhammad Da’dua ID 854142213 Case No. 4621/12
A resident of Al-Hader, released on bail. He is accused of disturbing security forces and attacking a policeman (in other words: refusing arrest).
In March 2012 there was an organized planting of olive trees in Al-Hader village in which Palestinians and about 50 activists took part. Two settlers from Ephrat [the notorious Nadja Matar and another woman] showed up and photographed the event with a view to stopping the work; they claimed that the land did not belong to Al-Hader inhabitants. The settlers called the police, who in turn called on the Civil Administration to adjudicate who owns the land.
The representatives of the Civil Administration demanded that the Palestinians show them the deed to the land, but when the latter failed to do so, they were told to halt the work. Most of the people present obeyed, others claimed that the land was privately owned and did not belong to the state. Interestingly, the settlers were not asked to show any documents to prove their claim (that the land was not privately owned).
One man (claimed by the arresting policeman to be the accused) continued to work, using a hoe and insisted that he was tilling his own land. He did not stop even when the policeman threatened to arrest him if he did not lay down his tool. When the policeman tried to arrest him, the activists surrounded him and tried to prevent the arrest. Eventually, the policeman managed to handcuff Sajed Da’dua and drove him to the police station.
Today was an evidentiary hearing: Major Barak Shahar, the arresting policeman, was summoned to testify.
During the prosecution’s examinations and in the cross-examination, he repeated the same statement: “I told him to stop working, since we are not sure who the land belongs to, told him he cannot continue to till it.”
At this point the defense said, “Why didn’t you just tell Nadja [Matar] to leave, so you could verify who owns the land and settle the matter? Wouldn’t that have been a better solution than driving everyone out?”
[See additional details in the attached protocol in Hebrew]
The hearing continued after the recess.
The next session was set for 25.11.13.