Ofer - Stone Throwing, Interrogation of Witness
Translation: Marganit W.
As we all know, most trials at the military courts end with plea bargains. When the defendant does not admit to the charges there is an evidentiary trial. The evidentiary trial I attended today affords us a rare glimpse into the daily routines of the army, the ties to the SHABAK [GSS] and the role of police interrogators.
The defendant in this case is a young man from Ni’lin who works “in falafel”. He was incriminated by someone telling “one thousand and one nights” stories. The incriminator, Abed Elrahman Srur recounted an incident where rocks were thrown at 9 cars on the main road near Ni’lin; the cars were hit, and military jeeps entered the village when tires were burned; oil was poured on the jeep, a brick was thrown and broke the window, then fire bombs were lobed at the military jeeps, setting them on fire; gas grenades were fired at the soldiers from an improvised rifle and more stories in that vein.
Judge: Major Etty Adar
Prosecutor: Lieutenant Netanel Yacov-Hai
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
Defendant: Abdallah Assad Abdallah Amira,ID. 853405652-Case 5940/13
The session opened with examination of Prosecution Witness who served as intelligence officer at Ephraim Regional Regiment. The officer reported that soldiers in the area report every incident that happens and everything is recorded digitally in a log. “The log records the initial incident, the person who first saw it, if there was a chain reaction, who reported to the site, when they arrived etc.” (From the protocol)
The incident in question occurred on 8.3.13 and a report was filed – except that the detailed account was done at the request of the Security Services.
In reply to the defense, the witness states that he was asked to record specific events in a specific village in a specific region. He adds that it does not stand to reason that events such as the ones described by the defense (i.e., stories by Abed Elrahman Srur) would take place without being recorded by the soldiers.
Witness No. 4 is Warrant Officer Matanes Haddad. Haddad took Abdallah Amira’s statement on 10.11.13, and Abed Alrahman Srur’s statement on 21.3.13.
Atty. Ramati explains the procedure of taking a legal statement.
Question: The defendant came to you after being interrogated by the SHABAK. But there was something irregular about this interrogation. He had been interrogated by the SHABAK three times, but none of the interrogations had to do with the allegations that you questioned him about. Here are the minutes from those three interrogations. The subject here is car theft that has nothing to do with what you questioned him about. Don’t you find it strange that after being interrogated by the SHABAK you are asked to interrogate him about things that have nothing to do with the SHABAK interrogation?
Answer: As far as I can remember, I interrogated him based on police testimony by others who incriminated him (From the protocol)
The witness explains that the interrogation was conducted in Arabic and the statement was also written in Arabic.
From the lengthy cross-examination of the witness Haddad we see a clear link between the SHABAK interrogations and the need for a police interrogation for the purpose of the court case.
From the protocol:
Question: Let’s talk about the method of interrogation – getting a statement after you have already obtained the record. We know that the record is not a statement in Arabic. You need the admission from the SHABAK so it can become evidence in court. Do you agree that this is the purpose of the interrogation?
Question: So Fuad (the aforementioned SHABAK interrogator) is not far from the truth: he says that they make the suspect confess, and then, in order to give it police authorization, a policeman shows up, takes the record, asks questions based on the record and writes down the answers. This was in fact your role at the interrogation, right?
The interrogator does not deny the defense’s claim.
When the hearing was over, the judge acceded to my request to obtain the protocol, but she wondered why I wanted it. I told her the truth.