Ofer - Plea Bargain, Stone Throwing
Translation: Marganit W.
Morning and afternoon
My ties to Beit Ummar go back to the summer of 2012 when I took part in civil disobedience with a group called “We Do Not Obey”. The ties deepened over the years and included political activity in the village. Beit Ummar suffered from extensive land theft, and the settlements of Karmei Tsur and Bat Ayin were built on both sides of the village. The village is characterized by heightened political awareness and activity, resulting in several people getting killed by the military and many people – adults as well as minors –sitting in military jails.
One of the first hearings was that of Zeyn Abu Maria, who was first arrested on 7.3.12 when he was 15. At that time it was permissible to report on the trials of minors.
[See earlier reports on this case]
On 15.7.15 Justice Major Balilty presided over the cases of:
Zeyn Hashem Halil Abu Maria – ID 85484111
Muhammad Ahmad Halil Abu Hashem – ID 859493918
The two are accused of throwing rocks in the period between June and August 2014 (the time of last year’s war in Gaza). It was an isolated incident and no damage was done. But Justice Balilty stated: “It was damage to a social value, i.e., protecting the security forces, which is of crucial interest to the rule of law and law enforcement.”
Zeyn Abu Maria was given a penalty of 16 months jail time. The calculus (which was particularly complicated – N.A.) includes 8 additional months on top of the time he served so far, meaning he will have served 85 days since the time he was a minor. In addition he was given 9 months probation for 5 years plus a fine of 1500 shekels.
Ali Muhammad Abu Hashem received a penalty of 8 months in jail plus activation of a previous suspended sentence – 16 months in all, plus 12 months probation for 5 years and a fine of 1500 shekels.
On 16.8.15 Atty. Nery Ramati submitted an appeal in Justice Lieut. Col. Ronen Atzmon’s court, arguing that the penalty was too severe. Atty. Ramati opened with an impressive argument citing the Innocence Project in the US, from which he drew analogy to the evidence in the evidentiary hearing of Zeyn and Muhammad. We are waiting for the decision.
Judge: Major Haim Balilty
Prosecutor: Lieut. Anan Sarhan
Defense: Atty. Nery Ramati
Defendant: Muhammad Amjad Mahmoud Kawad – ID 860188796
Muhammad Kawad is one of two people arrested when a group of youngsters from Beir Zeit decided to have a picnic and plant olive trees in memory of Rachel Corrie.
Muhammad is released on bail.
A plea bargain was presented with an original indictment that included attacking a soldier and throwing objects. After changes to the indictment the judge accepted the agreement and handed down the following penalties:
Days in jail to coincide with the number of days in detention, i.e., 14.
For some reason the judge saw fit to add: “It is clear that the defendant will not be required to sit behind bars due to this indictment.” He ordered a 3-months probation for 2 years and a 2000 shekel fine deducted from the 4000 shekels posted earlier as bail. The balance will be given to the defendant or to his representative.
I repeat what I have been saying all along: there is no sentence in the military court that does not include a monetary fine.
Defendant Samer Bassem Hamdi Mahlouf – ID 85922934
Samer is in detention, and after a long hearing the judge stated that Samer is convicted of a violation involving throwing objects, but no sentence has been given yet.