Salem - Release on Bail, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Remand Extension of Mustafa Hassan Ali Shtiwi from the village of Kadum
Judge: Sgt.-Major Asher Schorr
Prosecutor: Lieut. Moran
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati (partner in Gaby Lasky’s law firm)
Defendant: Mustafa Shtiwi - “No prior record” (the judge says)
Shtiwi, born in 1995 and residing in the village Kadum, was charged in May this year with two counts:
- That on January afternoon he took part in an unauthorized rally in his village, in which rocks were thrown.
- During that rally, in that same place and time, together with others, he threw rocks at security forces.
These charges are based on incrimination, re-confirmed by a second incriminator. In both cases his name is one among many (“laundry list” as explained later) who participated in the rally, and mass rock throwing.
The prosecution is requesting remand extension until the end of the proceedings, because the defendant poses risk. His attorney tries to convince the court to release his client under certain conditions: “let him attend trial as a free man so he won’t have to be awarded high compensation when he is finally acquitted.”
The prosecutor, Lieut. Moran, adduces a host of arguments, precedents and citations to impress the court that the man is dangerous, especially since he “dared” to do what he did during a public disturbance, while the security forces were trying “to restore peace and order” during an unlawful demonstration. Moreover, the defendant lives in Area B where the “limited control” may make it hard to bring him to court for further hearings. She also pointed out the unequivocal identification of the defendant as the one taking part in the rally and throwing rocks. She based this on the fact that the incriminator gave Mustafa’s full (quadruple) name, his family affiliation, age and exact residence. In view of this, the prosecution objects to considering an alternative to detention until the conclusion of the proceedings.
The protest was about a road, not about the occupation
Atty. Ramati challenged the evidentiary basis of the two charges. Based on the faults he found in the prosecution’s argument. he saw no reason not to consider alternative to imprisonment for his client. The concept of unlawful assembly refers to sedition and hostile propaganda when the protest is political in nature. According to the two incriminators the rally in question was a protest against a closed road and thus cannot be considered unlawful.
Secondly, each incriminator fingered out a person who was in jail at the time of the rally and therefore could not have thrown rocks at the rally. If that informer was mistaken or lied about one person on his list, perhaps he was also wrong about the defendant, even though the details were accurate. Moreover (and this was not spelled but was implied) the very accuracy of the identification suggested dictation, or suggestion. In other words, the name (and details) were planted in the “laundry list” that the incriminator received from his interrogators to sign, especially in view of the fact that the defendant’s name appeared only after the “informers maneuver” had been applied to the incriminator.
The attorney explained that the Appellate Court objects to such “laundry lists” because they do not address specific actions. For instance: how many rocks did the defendant throw? In which direction? How far? Is a man throwing a rock at a moving jeep from 200 meters as culpable as someone who throws a rock and hits a soldier from a short distance? If the answer is no, there is no reason not to impose a lighter charge on his client.
“Alleged Contradiction” (the judge’s phrase)
The judge perused the evidence in the file for a long time: three statements by incriminators, accompanied by documentation of dates when the accused men were in prison and could, therefore, not have participated in demonstrations and rock throwing.
Having examined the papers (while we sat silently in court waiting), the judge handed down his decision: the defendant will be released from detention under these conditions:
10,000 shekel bail,
Third party guarantee of 15,000 shekel,
The defendant will report once a week to Ariel Police Station.
The decision will not be carried out for 72 hours to allow the prosecution to appeal.
I later heard that the bail was reduced to 3000, and also that the weekly trip from Kadum to Ariel was rescinded.
In the meantime other participants in Friday’s demonstration in Kadum were arrested, people like Mustafa, whose parents had already been born to life without human and civil rights, who are not allowed to protest the continued theft of their land, and the denial of their rights and liberties. The debate over the distance from which rocks were thrown is just a game that the Occupation forces us to take part in.