By Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 28 November 2011
Bassem Tamimi (centre of photo)
Today’s hearing, which was attended by diplomats from eight different countries, saw the main witness in the case, 15 year old Islam Dar Ayyoub, put on the stand. The trial will resume tomorrow, 10 AM at the Ofer Military Court.
The hearing in the case of Nabi Saleh protest organizer, Basem Tamimi, which took place today at the Ofer Military Court, saw the main witness put on the stand and interrogated by the prosecution for nearly five hours. Islam Dar Ayuoub, who was 14 at the time of his arrest confessed to having given false testimony at the police due to the immense pressure he was placed under before and during his interrogation.
The courtroom was packed by over a dozen diplomats led by the Consul Generals of Spain, England, Malta, France and the EU who came to monitor the proceedings in Tamimi’s case, who was recently declared a human rights defender by the European Union.
In his examination Dar Ayyoub was asked about his arrest which took place last January in a pre-dawn military raid on his house. During his arrest he was beaten up and kept in blindfold and handcuffs for several hours until the interrogatory. Dar Ayyoub said to the court that he has been advised by one of his interrogators before the official questioning began to point out Basem and Naji Tamimi as main organizers, and made to believe by another that he would be released if he does.
A video of the examination shows a very tired Islam, completely dominated by three officers who at times make violent, threatening gestures, shout and ridicule him. The boy is seen constantly yawning and asking when he will be released. At some point he breaks down in tears for several minutes.
The boy was not read his rights, nor offered the opportunity to have his father present or speak to his lawyer, who was present at the police station during the interrogation, all of which in violation of his legal rights.
Later in the day, in clear violation of due process, the Military Prosecutor chose to confront Islam with the protocol from his own trial, despite having neglected to present the Defense with the material beforehand. The judge allowed the line of questioning to continue despite objections from Basem’s lawyer. The outraged Defense Attorney asked that judge, Major Eti Adar, disqualify herself on the grounds that “the Defense’s rights have been forfeited”, the judge however claimed to be impartial and refused to comply.
The trial is scheduled to resume tomorrow, with the testimonies of six witnesses, including another main witness, 15 year old Mo’atasem tamimi. The audio-visual recording of 15 year-old Mo’atasem Tamimi’s interrogation proves he was questioned in an unlawful manner, which amounts to systematic violation of minors’ rights in order to coerce them into incriminating themselves and others. During his interrogation, the boy was led to believe that if he will implicate others, he may receive a more lenient treatment.