Ofer - Stone Throwing, Sentence
Translation: Marganit W.
Morning and Afternoon
We arrived early because we were told that Justice Vigiser is punctual and that Lina Khattab’s evidentiary hearing would start at 9:30 sharp. Well, it did not. We used the time until the hearing to talk to Lina’s father and brother.
Judge: Major Meir Vigiser
Prosecutors: Captain Yaniv Bar and Captain Adi Yakobi
Defense: Atty. Mahmoud Hassan
Defendant: Lina Muhammad Ataa Khattab, ID 401313200 – Case 8472/14
(See earlier reports)
Evidentiary hearings can be very tiresome and detailed. I’ll try to sum up and glean some “gems”.
Prosecution Witness No. 1 was Sgt.-Major. Yigal Nafsu from a Border Police platoon.
The witness explained that they are charged with keeping order in the section between Qalandiya and Beit Horon.
On 13.12.14 hundreds of rioters in masks using slingshots threw rocks at the crossing, spread all the way to Bituniya Passage, and rolled burning tires to damage the fence. The soldiers used tear gas to repel the Palestinians, but it was hard to make arrests when the Palestinians were running uphill. So the soldiers waited for them to be on a level. When a group of Palestinians entered an alley, the witness was able to catch the defendant, who was wearing grey sweat pants and a red Kaffiya. He was not aware that she was a woman.
He explained that a group of Palestinians was trying to go through a hole in the fence and the defendant was the last one.
There ensued a debate about ‘eye contact’. The witness maintained he kept eye contact with the defendant until she was arrested. The defense questioned the witness’s ocular abilities.
The witness evinced great hostility when questioned by Atty. Hassan about the use of force in the arrest. He said repeatedly: “I have the authority to use reasonable force in making an arrest, and I don’t try to hide it.”
When asked by the defense why he focused on the defendant, the witness said, “A tiger chases a wounded animal, and she was the last one. I saw her throwing rocks and I followed her. She was left behind, so it was easy to nab her.”
He then explained his rationale for the arrest, “When you make an arrest, this ‘relieves the disturbances’”.
As to why there was no attempt to arrest others from the group of rock throwers, “They all threw rocks. They don’t like us”. [I wonder why. – N. A.]
In an angry tone the witness then said that “they all try to destroy the fence; they throw rocks and burn tires. Even five-year olds use slingshots.”
Then Witness No. 2, Sgt.-Major Razi Fuaz from Border Police testified.
He did not add much and it was clear that the two witnesses had coordinated their testimonies. The main problem was with something called “Action report” written right after the event. They did not agree as to who wrote the report.
The meeting was adjourned because the judge had to be elsewhere.
Aya and I were told that the hearing would resume in an hour and a half. Since it was already 4 PM we decided to leave.
Next morning, on Tuesday, I saw that Lina had been given a sentence.
From the sentence:
“It turned out that the BP policemen wrote the report together right after the incident. This is improper: they contaminated the investigation by coordinating their testimonies. They may have done so innocently, but the prosecution should be aware of the impropriety. Each witness is required to submit a separate report and not coordinate positions.
The sides reached an agreement.”
- 6monthsand a day jail time (coun ting from the day of arrest).
- 6 months suspended sentence for 3 years to prevent her from repeating the offense of rock throwing.
- 6000 shekel fine or 6 months in prison.
- Pledge not to commit any violation for 3 years. If she engages in throwing objects, she is liable to pay 3000 shekels.
This is the first time I encounter such a clause (No. 4) and it is not clear to me what it means. (N.A.)