Trial of West Bank Protest Organizer, Bassem Tamimi, Postponed Again; to Resume Sunday

After being previous postponed 3 time, Bassem Tamimi’s military court case had been rescheduled to be held on Wednesday 21 September.  It was again postpone, as outlined below in a media release issued by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.  It is now rescheduled to resume on Sunday, 25 September.

By Popular Struggle Coordination Commitee: 21 September 2011

Tamimi’s hearing was postponed for the 4th time, after the prosecution summoned the wrong witnesses. The trial will resume on Sunday, when three soldiers will testify.
When: Sunday, September 25th, 2011 at 1:30 PM
Where: Ofer Military Court*
* Entry to the military court must be coordinated with the Israeli army’s spokesperson’s office in advance.
Media contact: Jonathan Pollak +972-54-632-7736

The Military Prosecution anounced on protocol today that it has mistakenly summoned the wrong witnesses to today’s hearing. This was the fourth hearing in the case to have been postponed to date and while Tamimi is imprisoned since late March this year, the court hasyet to have heard even a single witnes in the case. Proceedings in the case have been prolonged as hearings were canceled due to prosecution witnesses not showing up, technical issues and postponements by the prosecution.

After telling the judge that he does not recognize the legitimacy of the court and of military law during his arraignment on June 5th, Bassem Tamimi’s trial is expected to open this coming Sunday, when prosecution witnesses will take the stand for the first time. On June 14th, the EU has expressed its concern over Tamimi’s incarceration in a statement given during the 17th session of the UN’s Human Rights Council.

The case against Tamimi is largely based on the coerced testimony of 14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub, also from Nabi Saleh, who was taken from his bed at gunpoint on the night of January 23rd. In his interrogation the morning after his arrest, Islam alleged that Bassem and Naji Tamimi organized groups of youth into “brigades”, charged with different responsibilities during the demonstrations: some were allegedly in charge of stone-throwing, others of blocking roads, etc.

During a trial-within-a-trial procedure in Islam’s trial, motioning for his testimony to be ruled inadmissible, it was proven that his interrogation was fundamentally flawed and violated the rights set forth in the Israeli Youth Law in the following ways:
Despite being a minor, he was questioned in the morning following his arrest, having been denied sleep.

He was denied legal counsel, although his lawyer appeared at the police station requesting to see him.
He was denied his right to have a parent present during his questioning.

He was not informed of his right to remain silent, and was even told by his interrogators that he is “expected to tell the truth”.
Only one of four interrogators present was a qualified youth interrogator.

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