Salem - Minors, Detention until conclusion of proceedings
Translation: Marganit W.
This is not a real report. We attended hearings of minors, so we are not allowed to report what we heard.
We came to Salem at the request of B., a resident of Yabed, whose son has been in detention since May 2014, when he was a minor; he was remanded in custody ‘until the conclusion of the proceedings’.
Luckily the permission to observe the Salem hearings arrived before 25.8.15, the day set for the hearing of this detainee, whose father requested our presence.
We arrived at the compound around 9:30 AM, entering through the gate used by families of Palestinian detainees. It was not very crowded, we had permits, and we were not left waiting.
In the waiting room we met B. and other members of his family. It turns out that two cousins (minors) and another adult cousin took part in the same incident that is the focus of this hearing.
Today’s hearing centered on the underage boys.
We were allowed to stay in the wing where the offices are and where Israeli attorneys wait. We talked to the acting deputy-judge, Avishag Agami-Mordechai , who evinced some openness to our presence and said she would try to let us in through the Israeli attorneys’ gate.
The judge in charge of minors’ hearings was not due to arrived until 11:00. When we entered the courtroom we were told that we are not allowed to be present in minors hearings, but if the defendant, his family and his defense have no objection, we may attend. However, we are not allowed to report on the hearing.
Nobody objected to our presence.
There were six hearings. After each hearing, we had to get out and wait for another permission to attend. We listened but did not take notes. The hearings ended around 1:00 PM.
The atmosphere in the court was relatively relaxed. The judge spoke Arabic and hardly needed an interpreter. More than two family members were permitted to be present. The parents were allowed to approach their sons and exchange a few sentences, but they could not touch them.
Bear in mind that all the detainees are underage kids, or were when they committed the crime. All were detained until the conclusion of the proceedings, and all were handcuffed when taken back to detention.
Attorney Iyad Mahamid from Umm Al-Fahem represented B.’s son and his two cousins.
The adult cousin had another defense. He is waiting for his sentence, which may affect the sentence given to the minors.
B. Hopes that the penalty will not exceed the time his son already spent in jail. He is due to be released soon. The father hopes he will not miss another school year. He already missed his matriculation exam.