Ofer - Stone Throwing, Remand Extension
Translation: Marganit W.
Before entering the court I ran into Atty. Ihab Galid who often represents minor detainees. He said that lately he had defended minors who were brought before the court for a second or third time, after having been in jail. The previous day he represented a minor who had already been in jail twice. This was his third time, and since he had a suspended sentence he was sentenced to a year in jail.
In Justice Major Rani Amar’s court there was a case involving bribing a DCO officer (for the purpose of obtaining permits illegally). No details were given, and Atty. Haled Al-Araj represented one of the three defendants who had signed an agreement and was released. A few months later the man was summoned by phone to an investigation and reported promptly. He was arrested again on 25.12.14, and now the investigator requests remand extension.
The defense wanted to know why a man who reported promptly was detained. The answer: the confidential file shows that there are “significant developments in the investigation.” The attorney pointed out that the previous investigation contained no incrimination, and the court accepted that his client had no connection to the event.
The judge was convinced by the secret file and ordered a 7-day extension, until 4.1.15.
The detainee asked to address the court and explained that he cannot be separated from his wife and children so suddenly. The judge cut him short, saying he could not do anything against the secret file.
In the yard we saw the parents of Yithrab Rian, the 16-year old girl arrested at Qalandiya (there is a Facebook film showing her arrest). She has been detained at Sharon Prison for three weeks now and the parents told us that a report by a probation officer from the Civil Administration was going to be discussed today, but we could not attend (because the detainee is a minor).
The next hearing will take place on 5.1.15.
Judge: Major Rani Amar
Prosecutor: Captain Michael Avitan
Defense: Atty. Mahmoud Hassan
Defendant: Lina Muhammad Ata Khattab – ID 401313200
Lina Khattab is a freshman at Beir Zeit University. She was arrested 16 days ago.
[See Samidoun report]
The prosecutor requests remand extension until the conclusion of the investigation.
The defense requests alternative to detention. He submits the name of Lina’s aunt as a possible alternative. The family is a good, supportive family: the mother is a teacher and the father works as art director at Beir-Zeit University. He had to cut short his stay in the US because of his daughter’s detention. The defense points out that in January exams will be held and Lina should not miss them. He promises to produce evidence to convince the skeptical prosecutor.
The prosecutor explains that Lina was arrested for the serious crime of throwing rocks at Bituniya Checkpoint. As for alternative to detention, he maintains that the girl needs to be removed from her regular environment where she cannot be properly supervised. The attorney counters that there is disagreement about the grounds for arrest: Lina claims that she did not throw rocks. Besides, she was not arrested on the hill where the disturbances took place: she was elsewhere, at a friend’s house in the village.
It seemed that the judge was impressed by Lina’s parents and in an unusual move requested a report by a welfare officer of the Civil Administration, to be handed to the court before 4.1.15. A social worker will talk to the family and an alternative to detention will be considered accordingly.
The next hearing is set for 5.1.15.
In Courtroom 2 hearings of remand extensions of minors took place – at first before a judge on reserve duty, later by Lieut. Col. Yair Tirosh, who is in charge of the military juvenile court.
Both judges stressed that my presence in court was contingent on the agreement of the families (given through their attorneys), and that I would not publish any details about the minors brought before the court.
Thus, I will only mention the names of the attorneys representing the minors: Ahmad Safiya, Ahlam Haddad and Nery Ramati.
The minors were of different ages - most suspected of throwing rocks.
Most hearings were postponed to 28.1.15 when the defendants will answer the charges.
Only two out of the eight I saw in court were released on bail. The rest are kept in jail.
I have no problem with the military court guarding the rights of the minors and asking me not to publish any details. I wish they would guard the other rights of the minors, who are often brutally arrested in the middle of the night, taken from home without a parent and interrogated without an attorney present or without being informed about their right to remain silent.
If you wish to obtain details about a minor’s case, you need to look for them elsewhere. We cannot provide such information in our reports.