Ofer - Remand Extension, Women
Translation: Marganit W.
People tend to arrive at the court early, not knowing if the hearing will take place before or after lunch break. People pace to and fro in the yard. Not everyone knows the attorney representing their relative, so they stand near the fence, hoping to see them. It is a sunless, windy place. When a hearing does not take place in the morning, the family gets worried, fearing it won’t occur at all, and they won’t get to see their loved one.
I try to go through the courtrooms and check the names on the lists, to see if the attorneys have arrived and report that the families outside inquire about them. As always, I feel uneasy that as an Israeli I have privileges, but I try to comply with the Palestinian’s wishes.
Judge: Major Yitzhak Ozdin
Prosecutor: Captain Adi Yaakobi
Defense: Atty. Auda Zbeidi
Muhammad Yihye Said Naf’a – ID 855008264
The hearing focuses on the prosecution’s request for remand extension. The defense moves for an alternative to arrest, mostly because there is a standard incrimination by Prosecution Witness No. 2 who has incriminated 25 other people. There are no significant details. The defense points out that the suspect has no criminal record; he has infections in his legs that require regular treatment. His arrest cut short the treatments and his health may suffer as a result.
The judge thinks that the testimony by Witness No. 2 regarding all 25 people on the list is trustworthy and their involvement warrants remand extension.
Arraignment hearing is set for 8.2.15
Another hearing deals with a Police requests for remand extension of four detainees. The four are accused of car theft.
Atty. Abdullah Mrar represents two of the detainees.
The police investigator recounts that during the storm that occurred on 7.1.15, the police reinforced patrols on roads in Benyamin area. A Volkswagen got stuck on Route 60, and was abandoned by its owner. There was an attempt to break in, and an investigation yielded that a vehicle was seen leaving the scene; it too was later abandoned. The following day the police towed the vehicles to Benyamin Station for further investigation. En route, the suspects stopped the tow truck claiming that the vehicle belonged to them. A police car was called on the scene and the four men were arrested.
Atty. Abdullah asks the investigator how the suspects are linked to the Volkswagen: where fingerprints taken? Were there security cameras (it happened near a gas station).
After being interrogated for 5 days, what else is there to investigate? One of the detainees, Samikh, has a work permit. The police called his employer and the latter confirmed that Samikh was at work all that day.
The police officer appeared relaxed and did not elaborate: he had the magical “secret file” at his disposal. At the end of the hearing he did not even refer the court to the secret file, he just whispered directly to the judge.
Decision: 4-day remand extension.
The father of Samikh and his brother (another detainee) sat next to me. He kept saying to me in a stunned voice, “But he was at work!”
Atty. Nubani represented a man suspected of possessing stolen property: a mobile phone. The man has been in detention since 5.1.15. Since he lives – and was arrested - in Zone B, the police and the army have no authority when such violations are involved. The judge, however, thought otherwise and extended the remand by 2 days.
And yes, the judge too based the case on the secret file.
I came to Ofer today to follow up the case of Lina Khattab [see earlier report on her case]
Again, a group of supporters from the International Solidarity Movement attended the hearing. Atty. Mahmoud Hassan brought to court Lina’s maternal uncle from the village Kufr Akab.
Judge: Major Rani Aamar
Prosecutor: Captain Adi Yaakobi
Defense: Mahmoud Hassan
Atty. Hassan explains that the uncle, Samir Shalaldi, has an Israeli ID. He used to work at the YMCA and is now retired. He is aware of the fact that if Lina comes to stay with him, he won’t be able to leave the house.
The judge appreciates the defense’s efforts to find alternative to detention, but is made uncomfortable by the closeness to the parents’ home. He is aware that he needs to hand down a decision today, so he calls for a recess. When he comes back he reads the details of the indictment and compliments Lina’s family. Then he says, “However, the family has not been able to stop the defendant’s activity, and I doubt that they or the uncle and aunt will be able to remove her from the social circle where she hangs out and instill in her different norms that preclude throwing rocks and participating in violent demonstrations. In fact, I feel that releasing her may send the wrong message about the leniency of the court and encourage her to join rallies and throw rocks out of ideological motivation. [And I thought that detainees are considered innocent until proved otherwise – N.A.] I regret the fact that many in the Palestinian population see nothing wrong in acts like those perpetrated by the defendant; they rather see them as commendable and support them.”
Decision: remand extension, and arraignment hearing on 18.1.15.
The judge then added a few things that were not recorded in the protocol, and he asked the attorney to translate them for Lina, “I see in Lina a potential leader, and I hope that in future she will channel those qualities to positive goals, perhaps invest more in the dance group of which she is a member.
I translated these words for Lina’s father who was sitting next to me, adding that the judge surely thought that he was giving her compliments. The father retorted that they could do without such compliments.
At 6 PM, when it was already pitch dark and bitter cold, we left the compound.