Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
At the entrance to Ofer Prison there is a sign saying: ”Operational Strength, Social Sensitivity” (my emphasis, MM)
Due to the Pope’s visit (traffic snarl-ups) we arrived at 10:30, but were immediately admitted. As is the custom lately, there were no dockets in the courtrooms. Hava spoke to Adham (liaison officer) who promised to hang the list near the courtrooms so that they cannot be removed.
Justice Meir Vigisser’s court
Military Prosecutor: Major Racheli Aviv
During the time we were in court, the hearings of at least ten detainees were postponed. It happened so fast, we didn’t even get their names. We report on three detainees where indictments were read and decisions were given.
Ismail Ahmad Halaf Ali - ID 992539957
Defense: Atty. Akram Samara
Charge: As part of general disturbance aimed at security forces in which roads were blocked, trash cans were burned, rocks were thrown, bricks were hurled from roofs, causing real danger to security forces; the defendant participated in these event, even though he was under probation, and the suspended sentence against him might be activated if he carried out the same violations.
The recidivism and the fact that he did not “take advantage” of the leniency of his sentence (presumably release before the end of the previous detention) and “returned to his evil ways” – drew most of the prosecutor’s attention. She repeated the same things again and again (at one point the judge said, Enough, but she continued). She cited precedents that called for punishing the defendant for the present violation, activating the suspended sentence, and rescinding the “leniency” of the previous sentence.
The defense presented the court with a medical document testifying that the defendant’s nose was injured while in detention.
The defense requested to postpone the hearing so he could check the prosecutor’s claims.
A hearing was set for 16.6.14 at 10:00 for arguments for punishment.
Majdi Salim Muhammad Hamdan – ID 852593185
Defense: Atty. Fadi Qawasme
The defendant comes from the village of Budrus. His parents told Hava that he was arrested after being summoned for interview at the DCO [District Coordination Office].
Plea bargain: The defendant admitted to throwing firebombs and incendiary objects at a moving vehicle. He was implicated in two incidents where he and a friend threw rocks and firebombs at Israeli cars on Rte. 443. In each incident they threw 3 firebombs.
The three violations (out of 13 unspecified ones he was charged with before the agreement) he admitted to were part of the plea bargain,
There were evidentiary difficulties (unspecified), and as always the question remains: why penalize when there are problems in proving the case.
The defense asked for the court’s consideration for the fact that a daughter was born to the defendant, whom he had not yet seen.
The judge said the plea bargain showed leniency considering the severity of the charges: throwing firebombs at cars on a main road can endanger passengers and pedestrians. Still, the judge accepted the agreement, taking into consideration the defendant’s clean record, his remorse and the fact that he saved the court’s time.
Sentence: 24 months plus a day imprisonment starting with the day of arrest: 18 months suspended sentence for 5 years in which the defendant will not throw any object, plus 7000 shekel fine or 7 months in prison.
Mahmoud Salem Albadan – ID 853494441
He is 22 years old from the village of Tukua.
Defense: Atty. Ilya Theodory
The parents, respectable and traditionally clad, were present in court and the defendant spoke with them at length.
Charge: In February 2011 he threw rocks at an army jeep on its way to Tekoa [Jewish settlement] from a distance of 50-70 meters.
(We don’t know when he was arrested and what happened in the three years since the incident for which is now tried).
The court accepted the plea bargain since the defendant admitted the charges and saved the court’s time.
Based on the agreement, he was sentenced to 6 months in prison from the day of arrest,12 months suspended sentence for 3 months and a 3000-shekel fine or 3 months in prison.
There were relatively many family members in court today. However, there was one young man who sat there for a long time during the remand hearings. He looked lonely and quiet. He did not exchange words with the other detainees who came and went. In the commotion we were unable to identify his attorney. When he was leaving, he looked at us and waved several times, as if we were his “family” attending his trial. It was heartrending.