Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Aya and I arrived at 9:30 and left at 5 PM. We were joined by Shosh Kahn from “Women for [Female] Prisoners”. Apart from the hearings we also had many interesting conversations. I wish I could report on all of them.
In the yard we spoke to the wife of Munzer Yussuf Al-Shukdam from Beit Ummar. She told us about her economic struggle to provide for 5 children and a sick mother in law. She was grateful for our talk and invited us to visit.
Judge: Major Rani Amar
Prosecutor: Captain Adi Yacovi
Defense: Atty. Ihab Galid
Munzer Yussuf Muhammad Al-Shukdam – ID 9051396974
Munzer was convicted of violating a closed area injunction (i.e., staying illegally) and falsifying dates on a work permit when he entered Israel on 28.12.14.
In accordance with a plea bargain he was sentenced to 31 days in jail, one month suspended sentence for a year and a 2000-shekel fine (or 2 months in jail).
When the sentence was read, the wife asked to address the court. The judge said that there was no point since the decision had already been given. Eventually he allowed her to describe their financial difficulties and her mother in law’s illness.
The judge (who earlier told the defendant that having a legal permit is the only way to go) now told the wife: There is a law! We have to apply it. The law requires a permit. If you break the law, you get punished. I hope in the future your husband gets a legitimate permit and earn a decent living. Good luck.
In the yard we spoke to Eyad Alsalibi from Beit Ummar. Eyad’s father, Omar, is a lecturer at Al Quds University in Abu Dis. Eyad is a law student who drives with his father to the university. One day, at Sawahra Checkpoint, they were stopped. Eyad was ordered to get out and was accused of throwing rocks. This was the result of incrimination.
Judge: Major Sigal Turjeman
Prosecutor: Lieutenant Raphael Shafransky
Defense: Atty. Ahlam Haddad
Eyad Omar Gabriel Alsalibi – ID 401542535
The hearing opened with a declaration that an agreement was in place and an indictment was in the making. The defendant will admit the charges and the sides will argue about a penalty.
The judge reads the decision. Eyad is accused of throwing objects at people or property.
The prosecutor cites earlier convictions with a sentence that includes a suspended sentence. He wants to impose a 5-month penalty to coincide with the 4 months of the suspended sentence. One of the problems with the case was insufficient evidence regarding the alibi claimed by the incriminator.
At this point Captain Michael Raber from the Prosecution Office comes in and declares:
There’s been a mistake: during the negotiations, we neglected to address the suspended sentence. I request a recess to confer with the defense.
After the recess, Captain Raber announces that the prosecution withdraws the agreement, and the case will be tried by another judge.
The attorney is furious, but cannot do anything. He states that Eyad maintains that on 30.3.14 he was at home because it was exam period. The suspended sentence refers to detention when Eyad was 15. The incriminating witness is known to be mentally unstable and tried to kill himself while in jail.
The father adds that his son has already lost an academic year.
Memorandum hearing is set before Justice Vigiser on 26.1.15 and an evidentiary hearing for 1.2.15.
In the yard we learned that one member of the Salibi family is a pharmacist living in Texas. Another daughter is a judge in Hebron in a PA court. Another daughter is a dentist in Beit Ummar and another son is a CPA and another one is finishing law school.
The woman told us that 30 years ago the state took their land and gave it to the settlement of Karmei Zur. There is an obvious attempt to force the Palestinians to leave, but they will not leave their homeland.
Filestin Farid Najam – ID 950336628
Judge: Lieut.-Colonel Zwi Heilbron
Prosecutor: Captain Yaniv Bar
Defense: Atty. Akram Samara
Filestin was in jail in 2007. She was convicted of purchasing a knife and going to Hawwara Checkpoint, where she was arrested. This time she is accused that on 20.1.13 she came to Qalandiya Checkpoint with a knife and a bottle of acid. They were detected by the magnetic screen.
As per the agreement between the sides, Filestin was sentenced to:
36 months in jail for the present charge.
Activation of an earlier suspended sentence from 2006: 12 months in cumulative sentence and the rest overlapping. All told she will be in jail for 48 months from the day of arrest.
24 month suspended sentence for 5 years in which she will not harm a person nor conspire to do so.
12 months suspended sentence for 5 years in which she is not to carry a knife.
3000-shekel fine or 3 month in jail. [I ask: after such steep punishment, why the fine? N.A.)
Last week I reported on the case of Lina Khattab. This continued today.
Judge: Major Rani Amar
Prosecutor: Captain Adi Yaakobi
Defense: Atty. Mahmoud Hassan
The defense still moves for an alternative to detention. He cites precedents where people accused of rock throwing or worse received alternatives. He shows documents testifying that Lina is a student and this month is the end of the semester and exams period.
Lina’s aunt testifies. She states that she is willing to take Lina home with her. She does not work and thus can keep an eye on her.
Atty. Hassan offers several options: house arrest, third party guarantee by Palestinians with “blue IDs” [Israeli residents], monetary deposits, reporting to the police or any condition the court sees fit to impose: Lina could stay in a dorm at Beir Zeit University and report to the police once or twice a week. The family has a mainline phone at home so the police can check.
But all these creative suggestions by the attorney were unacceptable to the prosecutor, who insisted on remand extension until conclusion of legal proceedings. He also invoked gender equality and equality of people from different social backgrounds.
The attorney claims that his client’s statement has not been examined. As for equality before the law, he cites the case of defendants from the settlement of Yitzhar who – together with 10 unidentified persons wearing face masks- threw rocks at police cars. The court released them. Atty. Hassan thinks that this is discrimination: Yitzhar settlers, who are tried in Jerusalem, get preferential treatment.
The judge says the decision regarding the alternative to detention will be given at a later date and extends the remand by 8 days until 12.1.15.
Friends of Lina, Members of ISM (International Solidarity Movement) were present in court. They have signed a petition for her release.
There was also a hearing in the case of a girl, a minor, arrested on 31.12.14. Her date of birth is 1.1.2000. Her hearing is set for 11.1.15.
[see post by “Samidoun”: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network]