Ofer - Stone Throwing, Interrogation of Witness
Translation: Marganit W.
Continuation of evidentiary hearing and Witnesses’ examination in the case of
Abdallah Amira (first reported on 19.1.14)
Judge: Major Etty Adar
Prosecutor: Lieutenant Netaniel Yacov-Hai
Defense: Nery Ramati
Defendant: Abdallah Assad Abdallah Amira,ID 853405652 -Case 5940/13
The first witness was Lieut. (Res.) Lital Gamniel, who on 1.1.13 served as Intelligence Officer and was in charge of the War Room. It transpires from the investigation that producing reports on events is a very simple procedure: a soldier reports from the area, and later a report is written and distributed. In a testimony last week, an Intelligence Officer recounted fantastical events that were all included in a digital log and then distributed and repeated. But the witness today recounted the procedure without embellishment.
The next prosecution witness was Master Sergeant Omri Awida, a police investigator. He headed the Police team at the Russian Compound and interrogated the twin brothers, Ahma and Abed Al-Rahman Srur.
The defense asks him to verify the police statements, pointing out contradictions in the testimonies and reiterating the fact that police statements are taken when a records of SHABAK [GSS] interrogation are already in the hands of the police interrogator. The answer to most of the defense’s questions is “I don’t remember”.
From the Protocol:
Question: As head of the Investigation at the time, if both witnesses say, “We have a weapon that shoots gas grenades and we will be happy to hand it to you”, wouldn’t you respond with, “Let’s go capture this weapon”?
Answer: I do not handle extraditions and forays into the field. This is handled by the SHABAK and the army. I can only make recommendations. I have no idea what was in that file.
Question: Shouldn’t you, as police investigator, obtain substantiation to the testimony?
Answer: They did not talk about the weapon and the other stuff in the testimony; they were ready to surrender it. Sure this could have strengthened our case. Maybe for security reasons, the army was willing to forgo it…
Question: If it was not you who initiated this completion of testimony. Who did?
Answer: The SHABAK
The next witness is Hader Mustafa, a ten-year veteran police investigator. Mustafa, too, does not remember many details of the investigation, although not much time has elapsed since it took place, as the defense points out. Still, the interrogation of the twin brothers is a bit unusual.
After many questions and evasions by the witness, it turns out again and again that police interrogations are carried out with SHABAK records in the hands of the police, and that the police statement is taken only for the purpose of preparing the case for court hearing.
Here are some more highlights from the protocol:
Question: A detainee – in both your and the SHABAK interrogation taken on 21.3.13 - reports an incident occurring on 27.12.12. He gives specific date and describes how he and others threw rocks and firebombs at army and BP jeeps. One jeep caught fire and two Palestinians were injured. I’m asking you: since you have someone giving a specific date, why not check and verify that such incident with burnt jeeps and shooting actually took place. Did you try to authenticate the information?
Question: I’m telling you, there is no such incident in the log. This can be easily verified. Shouldn’t you have told Ahmad: Nobody heard of this incident….
Question: Ahmad reported, “The last time we threw rocks was on 27.12.12, but earlier he told you of incidents in February and March 2013. How does this square with the earlier statement?
In short, to a lay observer like me, it is clear that the incriminating stories that led to Abdallah Amira’s indictment are stuff and nonsense. The defense requests the statements taken by the last two witnesses, and also asks to summon the head of the police investigation: in case it is a SHABAK officer, he should be summoned together with the records of the interrogation. If the defense receives this material, perhaps the case will get a little clearer.
Defense hearing is set for 12.2.14 at 13:30