Ofer - Stone Throwing, Detention until conclusion of proceedings
Translation: Marganit W.
The trial of Ibrahim Abdelrazza Abu Srur – ID 854140365, from Aida refugee camp
Judge: Major Meir Vigiser
Defense: Atty. Nubani
Ibrahim is 20 year old and works at a laundry near Rachel’s Tomb.
He is accused of ‘endangerment’ meaning throwing rocks with a sling - known in Hebrew as David’s slingshot - at security forces at a distance of 30 meters. Apparently even the army figured out who’s David and who’s Goliath here.
The charge refers to two incidents, on 18.11.12 and 19.11.12.
The prosecutor states that Ibrahim has accepted the first charge. The evidence is supplied by 7 witnesses (soldiers). Ibrahim was photographed by Witness No. 2. Witness No. 3 recognizes him by his clothes: a cropped white shirt - so do the other witnesses. There is an album of photos in which Ibrahim is shown in a different shirt. However, the soldiers claim that it was cold in the station, so they gave him another shirt.
Atty. Nubani cites cases of rock throwing where a decision was taken not to convict. The defendant has no record.
His family members are present in court, ready to vouch for his good behavior in the future.
Atty. Nubani argues that the fact that Ibrahim accepted the first charge should throw doubt on the second charge, since he could have admitted both charges. But his admission of one charge shows that he does not shrink from responsibility. The second admission was extracted under pressure. When the soldiers beat you, you admit to anything, he says. This observation does not elicit any comment from the judge or the prosecutor.
As for the first charge, the defense says, Ibrahim had an argument with his mother, and out of frustration he went out and hurled rocks. As for the second charge, there is no incrimination and no witnesses. The distance the soldiers cite is not conclusive: it is difficult to make identification from such a distance. In addition, no damage was incurred by the alleged rock throwing. He was photographed at a distance from the fence, and at that point he was already handcuffed. He is shown dressed in a different shirt than described by the soldiers earlier. Moreover, if he is released, the family vouches to keep an eye on him and is willing to post third-party guarantee (even by Israelis!).
Ibrahim’s father, Muhammad Abdelrazza, requests the floor. He pleads for mercy, saying that the entire family, including siblings who study at the university, all depend on Ibrahim’s salary. If the son repeats the offense, the father offers to go to prison for him.
The judge explains that he cannot release Ibrahim, but advises the father to take it up with the judge at the sentencing.
The prosecutor reiterates that the reason for incarceration is the risk factor. Ibrahim is not a minor and he threw rocks two days in a row, so this cannot be construed as a one-time slip-up.
The defense insists that the second charge is unfounded.
Judge: The defendant identified himself in one of the photos recording the first incident. In the second, he was identified by one of the soldiers throwing rocks from a distance of 30-60 meters. The identification was done in plain daylight and the witness claims that he maintained eye contact with the defendant. HENCE it is clear that the defendant posed a danger to the soldiers. Whoever throws rocks and endangers IDF soldiers proves that he is dangerous! Remand until the conclusion of the proceedings.
The judge moved to set the arraignment hearing to 24.12.12, but added that the court will be presided by the chief justice, or alternately by a female judge on 6.1.12.
The defense preferred not to appear before the chief justice and with the family’s consent the next hearing was set for 6.1.13.
As mentioned earlier the parents and a sister were present in court. We spoke to the father. It all happened during the last war in Gaza, while the strip was being shelled, he maintained. The son and his friends continuously watched TV, seeing the bombardments and the numerous casualties. He can’t drive a tank or fly a plane, the father said. The only way left for him and his friends, was to throw rocks.
The mother wept; we felt powerless, since we were unable to offer them help, as they expected of us.