Remember the December 2015 “Hate Wedding?” The one shot and distributed by the Jewish section of the clandestine police, as a way of proving they were right in suspecting hill youths of the arson murder in the Duma village the previous July? The wedding tape of a rightwing couple in Jerusalem, which was described as a celebration of violence and incitement, as the celebrants danced with rifles, knives and Molotov cocktails while Samson’s song, “I will avenge one of my two eyes, Palestine,” was playing in the background? Remember the shocking images of the wedding guests repeatedly stabbing the picture of the baby Ali Dawabsha, who had perished in the July fire? Remember?
Well, this tape is gone.
It is the core evidence of the case against those wedding guests, it was supposed to be the centerpiece of the entire trial, with the prosecutor standing with a severe expression on her face, letting the video do its damage… And it is not available.
Or, as the prosecutor put it in her argument to the Jerusalem District Judge Monday: “I do not know what has happened to the hard disc and the two on key discs.”
According to the same prosecutor, on Thursday she’d like to subpoena the video photographer to testify that the copies made by a prosecution witness, are the same as his original.
“We request to be allowed to submit the discs copied by the witness on condition that they be confirmed by the photographer,” she wrote the court, adding, “I have no explanations. The disc on key is not in the investigation file.”
She insisted that the chain of evidence had not been broken, but, frankly, will the court take her seriously? Possibly.
The Honenu legal aid society attorneys who represent the defendants suggested the loss of the recordings cast a heavy shadow on the trial’s continuation and on the state’s ability to convict their clients.
They will surely hammer on the fact that, as they put it Monday afternoon, “To our astonishment, it turned out during the trial that the original wedding video had been lost. The hearing also revealed that the Shin Bet is involved in the acquisition of the video and apparently also in distributing it to the public, as a spin, in an attempt to divert attention from the Shin Bet’s severe conduct toward the Duma suspects. These data that are currently being examined cast a heavy shadow on continuing this case.”
As you may recall, on Sunday the court ordered the prosecution to turn over to the defense the thousands of cases in which Arab weddings that involved shooting live fire and inciting to violence and terrorism had not gone to indictments – making the defense case that their clients were singled out for prosecution.