Ofer - Stone Throwing, Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
Morning and Afternoon
A plea bargain is presented in the case of a detainee accused of staying in Israel illegally. The prosecutor requests the court to extend the existing suspended sentence by 3 years because it has been violated. The 1000 shekel fine has already been paid. The main reason for the arrangement is the upcoming wedding of the accused (who has been in detention for 23 days). The judge comments that recently he has seen many invitations to weddings and wonders if there isn’t a factory somewhere that manufactures fake invitations.
Atty. Munzer Abu Ahmad represents Muhammad Shab who is accused of conspiring to carry out a shooting. The prosecution requests remand extension. At the end of the session the attorney draws the judge’s attention to the detainee’s clothes, asking to provide him with coat and proper gear, and also to transfer him to a cell fit for human beings, not rats. The judge answers (seriously) that he has no control over detention centers.
One reason I came to court today was to observe the appeal of Nawal Saadi.
Judge: Lieut. – Col. Ronen Atzmon
Prosecutor: Captain Gilad Peretz
Defense: Na’il Zahalke
The prosecution is appealing the leniency of the penalty. Nawal had contact with “Al-Bara” association since Nov. 2012. This is a humanitarian organization originally not designated as “unlawful association” until May 2011 when it was claimed that it had ties to the Islamic Jihad. Nawal is accused of transferring money – 6 times in two years.
The judge says that such a small number of money transfers does not support the claim that that was her position in the organization. The prosecution explains that in transfers that concern the civic infrastructure there is a decision to impose strict penalties. Harsh punishment is needed to deter activity connected to civil organizations!
Nawal is 55, married with several children. In 2009 she was released from prison after serving a long sentence.
The defense cites names of two other women who held high positions, explaining that Nawal was in contact with them and had only a very minor function. He stresses that she was a member of the association but not of the main organization (i.e., Islamic Jihad)
Nawal is scheduled to be released in May 2014. The judge said he’d give his decision by that date.
One of the hearings of minor detainees centered on a 14-year old accused of throwing rocks. The boy had been detained for 3 days, then was released on 8000 shekel bail. He admitted to the charges and in a plea bargain was fined 4000 shekels plus 6 months suspended sentence for 5 years! The judge stressed deterrence in his decision.
I spoke with the father outside the court and he explained that his son had not thrown rocks, but an evidentiary trial would totally disrupt the boy’s life and the father did not believe he could be acquitted, so he hired a lawyer from Nazareth at a steep price!
Judge: Lieut. Col. Ronen Atzmon
Prosecutor: Captain Asher Silver
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
Appellant: Muhammad Adeeb Ahmad Abu-Rahme - ID 859218091
Muhammad was arrested at night. The next morning his father called Nery Ramati. Since it is not mandatory to tell families where a detainee is taken, the father did not know where his son was. Atty. Ramati tried to locate him but to no avail. At 5 PM, he requested a hearing and was told by the court that Muhammad would be brought in by 10:00 the next day. Next morning Nery contacted the Russian Compound investigator and was told that the investigation had not yet started. Nery requested to talk to the detainee, but since he was in Tel Aviv, it took him an hour to get there. But then it transpired that Muhammad’s interrogation had started ten minutes earlier! It lasted only 20 minutes, and Nery was told that he should have coordinated the appointment with his client 24 hours in advance. They were not interested in the fact that he had just found out where his client was detained.
Atty. Ramati cites Justice Arbel’s ruling regarding a detainee’s right to counsel, the only right left to detainees, but nobody checks that it is honored.
In his interrogation the plaintiff admitted throwing rocks two years earlier.
The prosecutor states that the request to have counsel is up to the detainee. Had he requested it, he would probably have gotten it.
As I listen to the prosecutor I try to envisage the detainee – a young man taken from home in the middle of the night, dragged to the Russian Compound and immediately wants to lawyer up. Sure, the law says you can have a lawyer. Who’s your lawyer? We’ll call him. When he gets here, we’ll start the interrogation. Sorry, this is inconceivable.
The hearing was postponed to a later date, when the decision will be handed down.
I later attended a very interesting hearing, but there was a publicity gag on it. You can read about it in