Ofer - Shooting, Danger to Regional Security
Translation: Marganit W.
Justices: Colonel Eli Wolf (presiding), Colonel Eli Liraz, Lieut. Col. Ronen Atzmon
Defense: Atty. Bader Agbaria
Hearing in the appeal of Muhammad Mustafa Mahmud Hariush – ID 936451978
Muhammad Hariush has been in Israeli Prison for four years now. He is accused that “from 2003 to 2004 or thereabout he engaged in activity aimed at disturbing the peace, the IDF and public safety, or there is reasonable suspicion that he did so by supplying information, shelter, food, money, clothes, weapons, ammunition, fodder, transport, petrol of some kind, or in any other way…”
This is a quote from the indictment. It reflects the needs of the Occupation as the ultimate criterion for any judgment or evaluation. Which “public” and whose order is Hariush accused of disturbing and endangering?
The next paragraph makes this clear: “the safety of IDF soldiers”. How did he do this?
- By supplying food and lodging to wanted men he knew to be armed.
We should re-examine this Newspeak, which defines “wanted men” and legitimizes arresting any Palestinian.
-By carrying out homicide attempts, conspiring to kill, manufacturing and throwing fire- bombs etc. (including one instance where he is accused of driving a vehicle that his armed collaborators were using).
-By contacting a foreign agent (a charge he was cleared of), attempting a suicide bombing and agreeing to join Hamas.
The charges relating to homicide are as follows:
“the accused shot all manner of weapons at individuals and at groups of people and at places where people may be present.”
Dear friends, have you noticed who is referred to as “people”? Any person, group or place where people may be present.”
In his appeal the defense said, “These charges are based solely on the appellant’s admission. There is no substantiation, corroboration or evidence whatsoever in any other evidentiary material… the charges are allegedly based on a written statement of a witness outside the court.”
Hariush was acquitted of some of these charges, but they raise again the issue of the interrogation. How, when, how long, by whom and by what methods is a person interrogated to induce admission of such charges, some of which he ends up being acquitted of. Such formulation that mentions no date or location “any man… group of people… places where people are present…” only mask the fact that the case is based not on evidence but on admission.
Hariush was sentenced to 24 years in jail, but was acquitted of 4 out of 22 charges – one of which was contact with a foreign agent.
Here, too, note the phrasing: the accused came in contact, by written or spoken word, or by any other way, with a person who can be reasonably assumed to be aiding and abetting the enemy in some way or another. When did this take place? “ On a date unbeknown to the prosecution”. When and where exactly did he make contact with a foreign agent?
Time and place are indicated in vague clichés and they are accepted by the court without question. Out of 22 charges I counted 12 that the prosecution claims took place in 2004 or thereabout, at the beginning of 2004 or thereabout, in 2006 or thereabout and in 2007 or thereabout. As for the place – twice does the indictment mention a place: Kfar Ramin or thereabout, and the Israeli Liaison Office or thereabout. The rest took place “in the area”.
How can you refute such allegations? We do not claim that there is no resistance to the occupation. There is. But if you stage a show, invest in the décor. Most of the evidence is based on Hariush’s admission or on incrimination: the witnesses list included Jamal Shakur, the interrogator who extracted 5 statements from him and on 17 Palestinian prisoners who corroborated the incrimination.
The attorney claimed that if Charges 6,7 and 10 were valid and actions against the IDF had indeed been carried out, there would be corroboration in the army’s operations log, but there is none. As for Charge 11, it is alleged that Hariush sought materials for explosive charges from a certain person, except that such a person does not exist. “The population registry is under Israel’s control”, so where is the proof?
In summation: there are 22 counts in the indictment. In the earlier trial the appellant was acquitted of four. He is a young man. The attorney moved to acquit Hariush of 10 charges out of the remaining 18.
I hope the Appeals Court does not remand him in prison for twenty more years.