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May 29, 2016 / 21 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘court’

Prosecution Loses Round As Judge Recused in Trial of Soldier Who Killed Neutralized Terrorist

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

President of the Military Court, Colonel Maya Heller, on Sunday decided to approve the defense request in Sgt. Elor Azaria’s trial, and recuse one of the judges on the panel, Israeli media reported. The defense argued that the judge is on friendly terms with Hebron Brigade commander, Colonel Yariv Ben Ezra. The defense attorneys said they did not doubt the military judge’s honesty, but wanted to avoid a conflict of interest nevertheless. They won the round and will start the proceedings with a point advantage.

The trial of IDF medic Sgt. Elor Azaria, who shot dead a stabbing terrorist who was already on the ground, is scheduled to start on Monday in a military court in Jaffa with much less media attention than the case received back in March, when the military prosecutor was still hell-bent on charging Azaria with murder. Many Israelis were irate at the sheer injustice of the idea and the widespread protests convinced Prime Minister Netanyahu that his defense minister was pushing him off a cliff with his newly found, left-leaning political posturing. The case, which would have ended with a disciplinary hearing had an Arab B’Tselem cameraman not immortalized the episode, was downgraded last month to manslaughter and misconduct, as well as defying the rules of engagement without operational justification. Netanyahu, who met with Azaria’s father to reassure him his son is in good hands, has meanwhile fired Moshe Ya’alon, his pesky defense minister, reducing further the chances for collateral damage to Netanyahu from the trial come the next elections.

This is a do or die case for the military prosecution, which has taken its share of lumps so far. Its requests to remand Azaria to prison until the end of his trial was rejected, and he is free to walk around his unit’s base, just not go out. Except that the prosecution also lost its demand that he not be allowed to join his family seder at home. He did, with the court’s blessing. And so, feeling understandably wobbly on its feet, the military prosecution decided to enlist attorney Nadav Weisman, a renowned litigator and senior partner in the biggest law firm in Israel, Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal.

Making star attorney Weisman the litigator means the prosecution is going for broke. MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) in early May demanded clarifications from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot about the army conscripting a ringer for this match, among other things — how much was this costing the IDF?

From its show of zeal, it’s obvious the prosecution does not plan to offer Azaria a plea bargain, which should have been the easiest and least painful solution to everyone involved. A plea would have meant that the case would eventually disappear from memory, making room for newer attacks on Israel and the IDF. Dragging the case in court will have the opposite effect, keeping the gory details in the news: was the terrorist on the ground moving? Was Azaria justified? Why didn’t he call out an alert? It will also, inevitably, reveal that the majority of Israelis believe that a terrorist who picks up a knife and goes about stabbing Israelis should be certain of being killed. It’s like the death penalty, but cheaper and faster. It’s a perfectly reasonable sentiment, but do we want it debated on the BBC every night? Hardly. Now, however, thanks to a few wounded prosecutors’ egos, the tired topic of “it all started when Israel retaliated” will be king once more on the world’s stages.

It is funny, though, one must admit, to prosecute a soldier for killing a terrorist. Richard Goldstone, you have taught us so much…

JNi.Media

Court Forces Police to Release 12-Year-Old Suspect from Prison

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday rejected a request by police to remand two Jewish minors, 12 and 15-years-old, from Gush Etzion, who had been kept in jail for three days on suspicion of cutting Arab-owned vehicle tires, Honenu legal aid society reported. Their attorney said in a statement that no 12-year-old should be in kept in jail, and that police have lost all sense of proportion.

The two boys were picked up late Saturday night, with the younger one removed from his parents’ home by detectives. They were remanded the next day until Tuesday, when police requested to keep them locked up despite the fact that they deny the charges against them and the investigation is yet to reveal any new information. Another minor was released on Monday and the court ruled that police must give more consideration as to whether or not to arrest young minors.

Attorney Sinai Harizi Moses, who represents the minors for Honenu, said in her statement, “The state is waging a war to the death on anything with a nationalistic aspect, including offenses against property. The arrest of a 12-year-old who is on the threshold of criminal responsibility, in his bed, in the middle of the night, and his remand, shows that the system has lost all manner of rationality and proportion and have forgotten the meaning of human rights. The arrest of a 12-year-old is something that should not happen except in extreme cases, and this is not such a case.”

David Israel

Military Court on Medic Who Shot Neutralized Terrorist Recommends Parties Hold Mediation

Monday, May 9th, 2016

The Jaffa Military Court heard on Monday the indictment against Sergeant Elor Azarya who is charged with manslaughter and inappropriate behavior, and the court President, Colonel Maya Heller, suggested the prosecution and the defense seek mediation. The prosecution objected. Still, the court gave the two sides until the end of the week to consider this option.

Common sense suggests that if the court gives the two sides this opening to bargain the case down from manslaughter—a felony, to misdemeanor, it is because the court does not believe the prosecution is able to prove a felony and would like to spare them the embarrassment. But the prosecution is going for broke, and has even conscripted a top attorney, Nadav Weissman, “one of the most talented litigators involved today in many of the highest profile litigation cases in Israel,” to take down the young medic.

Azarya’s attorneys are also reluctant to cop a plea, because they believe the prosecution’s own files contain all the evidence they need to acquit their client.

Incidentally, the conscripted attorney has complained through his attorneys about the prosecution’s shoddy job of preparing the evidence in the case, and they also noted for the record that they can point to precedence where the most the accused soldier received was disciplinary action.

Indeed, disciplinary action was all the medic Azarya’s commanding officers were going to do, if that, until they got the call from the defense ministry about the B’Tselem video which supposedly proves hands down that the killing of the terrorist was an act of murder.

The defendant’s attorneys are accusing the army of running a show trial for the benefit of the political echelon, namely Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, not the most popular man in most Israeli households these days, most notably in his own Likud party. The majority of Israelis in several recent polls believe there should have been no prosecution at all in the case.

Much of the prosecution’s case hinges on the state of mind of the accused during the shooting, namely how much he knew about the neutralizing of the terrorist and the verification that followed his neutralizing. Since he arrived some ten minutes after the incident, the fact that the verification process had been proper may not matter if the defense can establish that the accused was not aware of it, and estimated the terrorist to still be dangerous.

The case will also revolve around the application of the rules of engagement in cases where a suicide bomb is suspected. The prosecution will bring witnesses who will tell the court there hadn’t been any suicide bombers in the entire six months of a terror wave leading up to the shooting. But that may not matter in establishing the state of mind of the accused or the validity of the rules of engagement that include an expectation of a suicide bomb.

JNi.Media

Likud Supreme Court Orders Review of Ya’alon’s Failure

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

The Likud supreme court on Sunday ordered the Likud Central Committee, Political Bureau, Directorate, Secretariat and Knesset faction to conduct reviews of the failures of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) regarding the eviction of Jewish residents from Beit Rachel and Leah in Hebron, Srugim reported . The Jewish residents moved into the building, which had been lawfully purchased from its Arab owner, on Thursday, January 21, and were forcibly removed by Police and Border Guard officers on Friday, January 22.

The discussions in each Likud institution will include a vote on a call to Prime Minister Netanyahu to remove Ya’alon from his post as Defense Minister, as well as a call on Likud elected officials to act at once to annul the eviction action against the Jewish residents of Beit Rachel and Leah.

The Likud supreme court ruled on a petition by six members of Likud Eretz Israel Loyalists against Ya’alon, in which they demanded the suspension of Ya’alon’s Likud membership over his order to evict the Jewish residents in Hebron. The petition, submitted by attorney Aviad Visoly, is based on an item in the Likud constitution according to which a member who aids a competing party would be subject to a two-year suspension from the Likud party. The petitioners argued that the Ya’alon order to evict the Jews from their homes aided the leftwing parties which are eager to eliminate the Jewish presence in Hebron.

The party court’s ruling stated that “there is justification for a piercing debate with Minister Ya’alon over his decision to evict the Jews from their homes in Hebron, a decision that may be criticized and action may be taken to change it, or, in the least, prevent a repetition of this behavior in the future.” But the court ruled that the debate does not belong in the court but in the various party institutions.

The court has ordered the heads of each of the party institutions to set a date for the debates in no later than seven days.

David Israel

Jewish Human Rights Watch Suing 3 Councils in High Court over BDS

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW) has taken Swansea, Gwyneedd and Leicester councils to the High Court in London, alleging their boycott of Israeli goods is anti-Semitic and violates the 2010 Equality Act.

The group noted on their Facebook page: “We’re in the #‎HighCourt today and tomorrow about The Labour Party’s Leicester City Council & City and County of Swansea & Gwynedd Council’s #‎Antisemitic #‎Boycott motions. We’ll keep you updated as soon as we hear anything.”

Several local councils across the UK voted to boycott Israeli goods after 2009, when Israel refused to embrace the Hamas’ need to shoot rockets at its civilian population.

In 2010, Swansea council was seeking contracts with Veolia, a company connected to a project building a light railway in eastern Jerusalem. But then a motion was put before the council stating the project “not only contravenes UN demands but is in contravention of international law,” since the UN “has demanded that Israeli settlement activities and occupation should not be supported.”

Several council members called on the council to not do business with “any company in breach of international law or UN obligations or demands, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant legislation.” The motion was approved.

Andrew Sharland, an attorney for Leicester’s council, which in 2014 approved a similar boycott of Israeli goods, said the JHRW is trying to “stifle criticisms of Israel.”

“What this challenge really concerns is criticism of the State of Israel, and the claimant’s desire to suppress it,” he said.

Following the 2014 vote, JHRW issued a statement saying, “Leicester City Council has taken steps down an anti-Semitic path under the guise of helping community relations in Leicester. Frankly this amounts to a get-of-out-town order to Leicester Jews.”

In 2014, Gwynedd council also passed a motion calling for a trade embargo against Israel, condemning the “attacks by the Israeli state on the territory of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.” Just to make sure they did not come across as anti-Semites, Gwynedd council added, “It must be made clear that the proposal condemned the Israeli state and not the Jewish religion.”

The British government earlier this year issued guidelines for public authorities which say these boycotts are “inappropriate” without formal legal sanctions or embargoes by the national government. In fact, the Cabinet Office has said these boycotts “undermine good community relations, poison and polarize debate, weaken integration and fuel anti-Semitism.”

But Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party has been ridding itself of an industrial-size stash of anti-Semitic members in recent days, criticized the government’s warning against BDS as an “attack on local democracy.”

David Israel

National Religious Rabbi Appointed Supreme Rabbinical Court Judge While Court Facing Shutdown

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Following a six-hour debate, the nine-member committee to appoint religious court judges on Monday agreed on only one judge out of the seven who must yet be appointed, by order of the State Supreme Court. Over the objection of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, Rabbi Eliezer Igra, a national religious scholar, was elected by a vote of seven in favor and two Haredi members abstaining, to be a Supreme Rabbinical Court Judge, and serve on the very committee that had just elected him.

But the singular appointment of Rabbi Igra will not fulfill the ultimatum issued by Israel’s State Supreme Court, which back in January ordered all the missing positions on the Supreme Rabbinical Court to be filled by Thursday this week, or else all the temporary appointments on the court would be revoked and the court would cease to operate.

Nevertheless, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) called the vote “a tremendous achievement for Habayit Hayehudi,” adding, “I’m very pleased.” She said that the non-Haredi bloc on the committee, which holds a majority of five members, have been suggesting several candidates for the Supreme Rabbinical Court, and they had all been rejected by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas).

Rabbi Igra studied for ten years at the hesder yeshiva Kerem B’Yavneh, served in the IDF Armored Corps and fought in the Yom Kippur War. He was the Talmud study partner of Yoni Netanyahu, the prime minister’s late brother.

The committee ran into several stalemates on Monday, leaving the Supreme Rabbinical Court short-handed, after several of its members have retired. The Haredi committee members were able to torpedo the proposed appointments of Rabbis David Bass and Uriel Lavi to the supreme religious court, and the National Religious members, for their part, were able to block new appointments the Haredim desired to several local rabbinic courts.

The only reason Rabbi Igra received his appointment had to do with the bad blood between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi chief rabbis, according to the website Haredim 10. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau joined the National Religious to usher in Rabbi Igra as revenge against Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef for appointing Shas member Moshe Dagan as the Chief Rabbinate CEO over Rabbi Lau’s fierce objection.

David Israel

US Defense Official to Court: Pollard Still Security Risk

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

National Intelligence Director James Clapper claims that recently freed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who spent the past 29 years behind bars in a maximum security prison, where national security information was not readily available, presumably, nevertheless still holds information that could harm American national security, which is why he must endure the strict parole conditions imposed on him for the next five years. These include not permitting him to move to Israel, where he has been granted citizenship.

Clapper submitted a document to a New York court and the parole commission handling Pollard’s case saying that Pollard continues to hold “sensitive and confidential information classified as top secret” that could harm American national security, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported Friday.

US District Court in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday granted Pollard a hearing of his appeal against the parole conditions, which require him to wear a GPS device that violates Shabbat and holidays. Also, his computers are being monitored by the government, which Pollard says limits his employment opportunities.

Pollard’s lawyers Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman wrote the judge a letter saying, “Even assuming some information [inside Pollard’s head] is still ‘classified’ as a practical matter, it is extremely unlikely that Mr. Pollard remembers, or could possibly remember, the details of 30-year old information to an extent that it could be of any value to anyone.”

The lawyers added, “There is nothing before the commission to indicate that Mr. Pollard ever memorized the documents he delivered, or that he could possibly remember any usable details 30 years later.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/us-defense-official-to-court-pollard-still-security-risk/2016/04/17/

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