Salem - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing
Translation: Diana Rubanenko
We reached the main gate at 9:00. The soldiers were phoning around to see if we were indeed permitted to enter. Ten minutes later we were allowed in, and we arrived at the building where - by the turnstile where people pass through singly - there was a crowd of men, among them the Arab attorneys.
This time - unlike the first time, when we crossed the men's 'barrier' and were allowed in without waiting - this time we had to wait with everyone. Once we were through the turnstile, we had to undergo a physical check.
We sat and waited for a woman soldier.
09:40 - she arrived. Expressionless features. Didn't glance at us.
We entered the yard and the structure where the relatives were waiting. A lot of women and three or four small children. Everyone was dressed in their best clothes.
Though many people were waiting - it was quiet.
There were also three young Israelis, who are following the case and trial of Murad Shtiwi; they belong to the "Anarchists Against the Wall” organization.
Two young ecumenical women volunteers were present, one Swiss and one Finnish.
10:40 - It was time for Murad Estawi’s trial.
Only then - together with the three young men, two women, and apparently with two family members - were we allowed to pass, well guarded by three soldiers - one of whom was really, really unpleasant.
The entrance leads into a complex with several courtrooms.
We were directed to the 'courtroom' of Justice Yariv Navon – for the case of
Murad Mahmoud Sheikh Abed al-Qader Eshtawi, ID 901094292- Case 2061/14
He was represented by Atty. Nery Ramati and Atty. Adel Samara
Accused of participating in demonstrations [illegal] in Kfar Kadum, throwing stones, incitement [?]
(See a previous report in his case)
We were allowed to hear the 'plea bargain' of another defendant before Murad. He was also named Eshtawi and is from Kfar Kadum.
The military prosecutor noted that the young man is a lawyer and that he is about to get married - one of the reasons to settle for a plea bargain.
The military prosecutor remarked: "Once he gets married, he won't have time for demonstrations," and he should therefore be "given a chance". The military prosecutor also indicated the main reason for the plea bargain - that he saw "a problem in the file, stemming from the incriminating witnesses who retracted the version they gave in their police statements, when they gave evidence in court."
The judge read out the verdict and sentence [at least what I was able to hear and write down - C.A.]:
"This is one of a series of cases, some of which were heard before me, and in which witnesses gave evidence. While the witnesses were speaking, there transpired to be disagreements about the motive for those processions, in connection with closing roads, or if the demonstrations were intended to protest against the security forces. In any case, it is clear that stones were thrown. "[My emphasis - to express displeasure, to say the least, against the judicial reasoning for the conviction].
The sentence accorded with the plea bargain, but not before the judge announced that though he would have aggravated the punishment, he was 'forced' to admit the agreement.
As for Murad Eshtawi, who was already in the courtroom - the parties announced that they were in the midst of trying to assemble a plea bargain.
Each defendant was given a few minutes to speak with their relatives.
The hearing ended and we left.
The next hearing is scheduled for 3.12.14.