Ofer - Students, Separation Barrier
Translation: Marganit W.
Pens and Sweets
In justice Etty Adar’s court
No attorneys are present.
Court attorneys are on strike today, protesting the interrogation of Ahmad Mansara, the kid dubbed “the 13-year old terrorist” in the Israeli press. He is accused of stabbing a Jewish kid in Pisgat-Zeev. A film showing his interrogation went viral on social media causing shock and protest.
We know very well the methods police interrogators use to extract confessions.
The attorneys’ strike focuses the public’s attention on the military courts and on the interrogations used to get convictions.
Today, though, the strike did not have much effect. We attended 13 hearings and will report on 4 of them. Almost all the detainees today were students, which is not a coincident. The army is trying to control the popular revolt and starts with the universities.
Mussa Yasser Mussa Hamed - ID 854343951
Mussa lives in Silwad and studies computers at the university. He was arrested on 2.8.15 on charges of membership and activity in a proscribed organization, Kutla Al-Islamiya, which is the Hamas student organization.
The judge explained (as she does in all the hearings) that the attorney is on strike and asked if Mussa wants to continue or to postpone the hearing. He prefered to postpone it. She read the charges and said, “I don’t ask you to answer, I just want you to know what you are accused of.”
He is accused of receiving $1000 from Hamas to finance his studies;
of throwing rocks at security forces;
of being a member of Kutla Al-Islamiya since the beginning of 2014 (while he was a student).
A month after Operation Protective Edge he took part in a rally in Ramallah and also in a demonstration about sovereignty in Al-Aqsa.
During 2014 he distributed to students sweets supplied by the Kutla organization.
The next hearing is set for 16.12.15.
Firas Abed Aljaber Firas Abu Shtiya – ID 959831984
A resident of Kafar Na’ama, near Ramallah. Firas enrolled in the Open University but was arrested before beginning his studies.
He is accused that on 19.9.15 he and some friends bought benzene and manufactured 4 fire bombs which they tried to throw on the street.
He, too, preferred to postpone the hearing to 16.12.15 when his attorney can be present.
Abed Alrahman Muhammad Abed Al Rauf Rimawi – ID 860064609
Abed Alrahman lives in Beit Rima. He is 21, a geography student at Bir-Zeit University.
He was arrested on 21.10.15 at 4 AM.
His indictment is lacking in evidence, “from an unspecified date until his arrest” he is alleged to have been a member of Al Rabata, an illegal association proscribed by Israeli law.
What is the charge? In September 2015 he received 1000 pens, which he then distributed to students, and then on 28.9.15 he took part in a rally at Abu Dis University in commemoration of Diaa Al Rabata.
The next hearing will take place on 16.12.15.
Muhanned Haled Suliman Abu Awad - ID 851169490
Surprise! Two attorneys walked in. Apparently the strike does not include them: Atty. Haim Yitzhaki and Atty. Yahel Ben Oved.
The family was represented by the detainee’s girlfriend. Muhanned lives in Beit Ummar. He is the son of Ali Abu Awad who was co-manager of the Forum of Bereaved Israeli and Palestinian Families. His sister Siham is also a member of the Forum.
He is accused of being a member of a military unit called Kataeb al Shahid Abu Amar (Yasser Arafat). He allegedly met with other operatives who planned waving flags, visiting families of prisoners, and organizing festivals and ceremonies.
The attorneys requested a postponement to study the material and take photos.
The hearing will continue on 22.12.15. It will be interesting.
And so it went on. We witnessed 13 hearings, most dealing with membership in unlawful organizations and acts like distributing pens and sweets and visiting prisoners’ families.
Hearings will resume on 8.12.15, 16.12.15 and 22.12.15.
Come one and all.
Due to the strike, hearings were postponed to later dates. When defendants asked for earlier dates, the judge replied, “had your counsel been present, we could negotiate an early date, but…”
Sounds like the court is taking its sweet revenge.
I am reporting on two hearings of Palestinians from Bil’in who are active in the Popular Committee Against the Separation Wall.
Abdallah Muhammad Mahmoud Abu Rahma- ID 997446703
[See earlier report from July this year]
In the Appellate Court, Justice Lieut. Col. Ronen Atzmon read arguments for rejecting Abu Rahma’s appeal of a sentence given in February 2015 (Atty. Gaby Lasky was not present in court).
In the previous court Abu Rahma was convicted of disturbing soldiers in their mission and of interfering with a military tractor (carrying cement blocks to block Bituniya Checkpoint) during a demonstration commemorating the Naqba and supporting political prisoners that took place on 10.5.12.
He received a penalty of 5000 shekels and 4 months suspended sentence for three years.
In the appeal, Atty. Gaby Lasky was willing to put up with the fine, provided that the suspended sentence was shortened.
The judge replied that if Abu Rahma were a “regular” person, the sentence could be reduced. But since there are previous convictions, including “incitement to throw rocks” (based on incrimination by a child who was interrogated under harsh conditions, resulting in a yearlong prison sentence for Abu Rahma) the judge saw fit to “cool the petitioner’s zeal” for the next couple of years”.
And he added, “the previous court did not prohibit the petitioner’s participation in protests… but he should limit himself to legitimate protests only.”
One wonders what this means, since in the Occupied Territories there are no “legitimate protests”. A permit to hold a demonstration is unheard of in the Occupied Territories.
Mohammed Abed Alkarim Mustafa Khatib, ID 851611053 - Case 2495/14 appeared before Justice Lieut. Col. Zvi Heilbronn.
Khatib pleaded for himself since his defense, Gaby Lasky, was not present. Khatib was released from detention the night before having deposited a very high bond. He was arrested last Friday when he participated in the weekly demonstration in Bil’in. He is accused of “preventing a soldier from executing his mission” when he tried to prevent the soldier from spraying pepper on the eyes of an Italian activist.
But today’s hearing involved participation in a march on 3.7.13 that left from the village Bitin and made its way toward the settlement of Beit-El.
Khatib is accused of taking part in an “unlawful march”, a violation of section 10 of the order forbidding incitement and hostile propaganda.
The objective of the march was to block the road.
Another charge was participating in activity that “disrupted the public peace.”
A third charge: “preventing a soldier from carrying out his duties”. When the soldier ordered him to leave the area, Khatib refused and was promptly arrested.
Prosecution Witness No. 4 (a policeman) was supposed to testify in this evidentiary hearing, but this time, too, he could not be contacted. This is the third time that this witness does not show up.
Hence, the judge decided that at the next hearing - on 19.1.16 at 9:30 – the defense would present its case.