Ofer - Release on Bail, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
A. In the waiting court in front of the entrance to the compound a young man approached us. He was arrested 18 months ago on a criminal charge. Since he had no attorney, the court suggested – as in many other cases – using Atty. Haled Al-Araj, and he agreed. The attorney got him released on bail until his trial, for the sum of 10.000 shekels. It’s been a year and a half and no trial. He says he calls the attorney every week to ask about the trial date, and he wants his bail money back. All he hears from the attorney are empty promises. What is he to do?
I asked two lawyers, Leah Tsemel and Tamar Peleg, if there is a time limit for someone on bail waiting for a trial. Both of them told me that the man had bought himself freedom for the sum of 10,000 shekels: quite often, the longer the delay, the better for the bailed person, because after a year or two, the violation seems less severe and the matter is less important…
B. In Courtroom 4 Atty Akram Samarrah represented a client (whose name and ID I do not disclose because I did not obtain his permission to publish it).
The judge is Samzar Shagug.
The defendant is an older man, over 50 years old, charged with providing services to an unauthorized organization. He is released on bail.
This is a memorandum hearing and the trial was postponed to February 27.
I spoke to him in the yard. The man is a meat merchant: cattle, sheep etc. and like other merchants he gives and receives postdated checks. A while ago (I did not ask when) he went to Jordan on business, and being careful, did not leave the checks at home but took them with. On his return, he was detained at Allenby Bridge and when searched, the checks were found, and he was immediately accused of transferring monies to unlawful organizations, perhaps Hamas.
He was released on 15.000-shekel bail, and then paid another 10,000 to an attorney. His checks were confiscated by the military judicial system (maybe they will be returned, maybe not, depending on the outcome of the trial). Even though he is not in detention, he cannot do business, because all his money went to bail and to the attorney, and the checks from his clients were seized. So he is waiting.
What can one say about this vast system, involving both Jews and Arabs, who make a profit from the misery of the residents in the Occupied Territories? As in the first case of the young man waiting for a trial, such people – and their money - can be suspended indefinitely.
For our readers’ information, I cite Security Ordnance 1651, as given to me by Atty. Tamar Peleg. Note the language: “Every soldier, or representative of authorized agency… who have reason to suspect that a violation has been committed or is about to be committed, has the right…” By this definition, every one of us can be arrested any moment and anywhere, not to mention Palestinians in occupied territories.
60. Soldiers or other authorized agency may seize and hold merchandise, property, documents, animals or any other object where there is reason to suspect that they may contribute to a crime, or that they have been given in payment for a crime, or used in the commission of a crime, or that they may be used as evidence of a crime.
Expenses for seizure and holding of property
64. Owners of property seized in this manner will be charged with paying for the expense of such seizure, according to orders given by the regional commander
Today (14.1.14), I read in Haaretz about a new order issued by GOC [Officer in Command] Nitzan Alon: from now on, Palestinians can no longer appeal seizures of their property. The order forbids them to appeal to the Military Courts (of the occupation!) and to contest decisions to confiscate their property. The theft is now legal and official. The meat merchant may never get his checks back. His trial will resume on 27.2.14.
I am planning to attend.
Courtroom 1 was crowded with drivers waiting for expedited deals arranged by the prosecutor. Once more, we witnessed the usual farce of Traffic trials. One by one they approached the Prosecution desk, haggled a little over the fine and left with the receipt of payment in their hands. For appearance sake, the prosecutor reported the deals to the judge and the latter dictated the clichés for the protocol. The fines ranged from 500 to 2000 or even 3000 shekels, according to the severity of the violation, plus suspension of driver’s license. Since the negotiations took place at the prosecutor’s desk, I was unable to hear the details of the charges and whether they accepted or denied the allegations. It was obvious that they thought they had no choice. Such trials serve several purposes: Extract money from the residents of the Occupied Territories (about 50 people, each shelling out 1500 shekels twice a week), lighten the load for Israeli police by reducing the number of vehicles on the roads, and halting the traffic of merchandise and people, which is the basis of economic development.
Judge: Samzar Shagug
Prosecutor: Dvir Weisel
Note that all the names below are there for the record only: all the trials were postponed to a later date. What we witnessed today was administrative busy work of opening ledgers, some negotiation between judge and attorneys, gossip about travels, vacation and refresher courses for military jurists.
-Muhammad Wajia Muhammad Tamimi – ID853461804
-Rifat Wajia Muhammad Tamimi – ID 910916758
Defense: Nery Ramati
The two have been in detention for a month, both accused of throwing objects. They both deny the allegations claiming they were home at the time. They were not caught in the act but arrested at home, in the middle of the night, as usual. Judging by the names, they seem to be brothers (sharing the same case file).
It turns out that the judge is going to a conference and will return on January 23. This is the reason that most trials today were delayed or transferred to another judge.
Muhammad Adnan Abed Al Majid Tamiza – ID 851806778
Defense: Muhammad Jabarin
Mr. Tamiza is accused of a terrorist act. The defense has asked for the records of the investigation and requests the judge to instruct the office to hand over the material. This case, too, is transferred to the President of the court to set another date.
Fadi Amjad Hassan Abu Sharifa – ID 850678491
Charge: Throwing objects
Defense: Haled Al Araj
Fadi denies the allegations. The trial is postponed: evidentiary hearing will be set later.
Nasser Assem Kamal Abu Mizar – ID 850480864
Accused of manufacturing and throwing an incendiary object.
The defense did not show up. The trial was set for 24.1.14
Annas Fuzan Faiz Abu Ali – ID 853468494
Accused of throwing objects.
Defense: Ahlam Haddad
This was a sentencing hearing, but the defense asked not to hand down the sentence because “some changes have occurred and negotiation is in progress that may determine the penalty.” The negotiation has to do with 2 accomplices involved in the incident.