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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘trial’

Former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski Convicted in Holyland Case

Monday, March 31st, 2014

A second former Jerusalem mayor, Uri Lupolianski, has also been convicted by a Tel Aviv District Court of corruption in the years-long Holyland case.

Lupolianski was found guilty of receiving bribes in exchange for allowing construction of the Holyland Park luxury residential complex near Jerusalem’s Malha Mall.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was  also convicted earlier in the day. Olmert, who at the time was mayor of Jerusalem and subsequently Minister of Trade and Labor, was convicted of receiving bribes from the contractors for the project.

Justice David Rosen ruled that Lupolianski was aware of sizeable donations to the Yad Sarah charity organization. “He had chosen to act against moral standards,” Rosen commented.

According to police suspicions, between 1999 and 2008, the Holyland development company and associated land development projects, then owned by businessman Hillel Charni, paid tens of millions of shekels in bribes through intermediaries to senior public decision makers in the Jerusalem Municipality.

“The broad canvas painted by the state’s witness revealed corrupt systems of government that had rotted over the years,” Rosen wrote in his decision. “Hundreds of thousands of shekels were transferred to elected and public officials. “The state’s witness didn’t transfer the money out of the goodness of his heart, but rather with the intention that Olmert would help promote projects.”

The state’s witness Shmuel Dachner, who is now deceased, was also convicted in the case, as was his aide, Meir Rabin, former Deputy Mayor Eliezer Simhayoff, former city engineer Uri Sheetrit, former aide to Ehud Olmert, Shuli Zaken, and others.

Of the 12 defendants in the case, nine were convicted, and three acquitted.

Former PM Ehud Olmert Found ‘Guilty’ in Holyland Trial

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been found guilty in the Holyland trial that dealt with corruption in the building of the massive luxury residential complex near the Malha Mall in Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen announced the verdict Monday morning, handing down a verdict of “guilty” on charges of receiving bribes to allow contractors to proceed in construction of Holyland Park.

Olmert allegedly took the bribes from Holyland’s developers and the company Hazera Genetics during his time as Jerusalem mayor and minister of industry, trade and labor.

Of 12 defendants in the years-long trials, only three have been acquitted in the case.

The state’s witness Shmuel Dachner, who is now deceased, was also convicted in the case, as was his aide, Meir Rabin, former Deputy Mayor Eliezer Simhayoff, former city engineer Uri Sheetrit, former aide to Ehud Olmert, Shuli Zaken, and others.

Rosen slammed what he called “a corrupt political system which has decayed over years… and in which hundreds of thousands of shekels were transferred to elected officials.”

Morsi to Stand Trial Again

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Overthrown Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi will be standing trial again.

This time Morsi is being accused of “collaborating with foreign organisations to commit terrorist acts in Egypt, revealing defense secrets to a foreign country, funding terrorists and military training to achieve the purposes of the international organisation of the Brotherhood,” according to a report in the Egyptian online news site Al-Ahram.

Morsi, along with thirty-five co-defendants are being accused of working with Hezbollah, Hamas and other terror groups inside and outside of Egypt to commit terror attacks in Egypt, smuggle weapons, and target army and police in the Sinai.

Morsi is also on trial for killing protesters in 2012.

Egyptian Court Orders Release of Mubarak

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

An Egyptian court on Wednesday ordered the release of Hosni Mubarak, imprisoned for several months while awaiting trial on a charge of corruption.

The former dictator has been in jail the maximum amount of time allowed, it said, but his release could be delayed at least until Thursday if the prosecution appeals.

Mubarak has been cleared on one charge of corruption, but a trial on a second charge has not yet been concluded. He formerly was sentenced to life in jail for involvement in the murder or more than 800 protesters in the demonstrations in 2011, but a court accepted his appeal and ordered a re-trial.

Muslim Brotherhood Picks Hawk as New Leader

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) on Tuesday named Mahmoud Ezzat as its new leader after the Egyptian government arrested its former leader Mohamed Badie earlier on the same day.

Experts are suggesting that hardline MBs who managed to go underground to evade an arrest, would seek ways to avenge Badie’s arrest.

Ezzat has strong relations with the international Muslim Brotherhood and with the Hamas movement, Tharwat Kharabawy, a dissident former MB leader, told Xinhua.

Ezzat is a hawk, Kharabawy said, “the real guide of the group” and the one “managing the group from behind the curtains.”

The appointment means that the MBs are in no mood for peaceful negotiations with General al-Sisi and the new regime in Cairo.

Ezzat, former MB secretary general, has been a member of the guidance bureau and a deputy of Badie. In 1965 he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

He was chosen as a member of the guidance bureau in 1981, and was arrested again in 2008.

According to the Egyptian authorities, Badie has been transferred to Mazraah prison in the Torah prisons’ complex, where former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons are currently residing.

Badie is going to stand trial on Aug. 25, together with his two deputies, Khairat al-Shater and Rashad al-Bayoumi.

The new Egyptian rulers appear determined to crush the MB. In an interview with the CNN, presidential political advisor Moustafa Hegazi said that putting Badie in jail is a step toward restoring law and order.

He said “Egypt is waging a fierce war against terrorism and criminal acts.”

Hegazi suggested that the cruelest incident in all of Egypt’s history was the execution of 25 off-duty security servicemen on Monday in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday that she had offered to return to Cairo.

“I told the Egyptian prime minister at the weekend that I would be more than willing to go back to Egypt if they wish me to come back,” said Ashton, who has been to Egypt twice since the regime change by the military.

Russian Human Rights Council to Review Jewish Teacher’s Graft Sentence

Friday, August 9th, 2013

The Kremlin’s human rights council is reviewing a prison sentence meted out to Ilya Farber, a Jewish schoolteacher convicted of corruption.

The regional court of Ostashkov, north of Moscow, sentenced Farber last week to seven years in jail after convicting him of receiving $13,000 in bribes from a construction company. The company was seeking permission to renovate a culture club in a village where Farber settled in 2010 and began teaching art to children.

Many in Russia believe Farber did not receive a fair trial, partly because of his Jewish origins, according to Matvey Chlenov, the deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress. Several people have testified that they heard the prosecutor in Farber’s first trial telling the jury: “Is it possible for a person with the last name Farber to help a village for free?” – a statement interpreted as referring to the fact that Farber is Jewish.

The Russian Jewish Congress has collected $30,000 in donations to help support Farber’s three young sons as he prepares to appeal the sentence, Chlenov said.

Alexander Brod, head of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, told the news site Utro.ru that he initiated a review of the case because he found the sentence to be “too harsh.”

Farber was arrested in 2011 and convicted. But a higher court scrapped the first conviction because of irregularities, including the judge’s instruction to the jury to “not to pay attention to the words of the defendant.” The conviction last week came in a retrial.

Farber was convicted of taking two bribes of $9,100 and $4,000 from the construction company Gosstroi-1 in exchange for permission to renovate a village club. Prosecutors said he signed off on the completed renovations when in fact none had been made.

Farber was a director at the club.

Chlenov said, “It is obvious Farber acted naively and some locals set him up and dropped their corruption on him.”

Excluding Jews and Others From Juries

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Comes the news [reported at the JewishPress.com -ed.] that Frederick Cohn, the Jewish defense lawyer for Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, asked Brooklyn-based federal judge Eric Vitaliano to exclude Jews from the jury. Shehadeh is charged with three counts of making false statements in connection with his attempts to join jihadis in Pakistan. “Your Honor” Cohn explained in February,

I’m not wild about having Jews on the jury in this case. Given that there’s going to be inflammatory testimony about Jews and Zionism, I think it would be hard for Jews to cast aside any innate antipathy. The American Jewish community is heavily aligned with Israel and Zionism.

This news brings to mind the London trial, almost exactly a decade ago, of Abdullah el-Faisal, when the defense successfully excluded Jews and Hindus from a trial jury. Carla T. Main explained at the time in the National Review what happened:

In a bizarre judicial move that has largely slipped under the radar screen in the United States, England’s Central Criminal Court, known as the Old Bailey, several weeks ago banned Jews and Hindus (and anyone married to one) from serving on the jury in a trial of Abdullah el-Faisal. The Muslim cleric had been running around England writing, recording, and speaking about his hatred of Americans, Jews, and Hindus, and waxing poetic about Osama bin Laden. He was tried and convicted of soliciting the murder of nonbelievers (read: Americans, Jews, and Hindus) and using threatening words to stir up racial hatred.

It may be difficult for Americans to appreciate just how unusual this act of juror cherry picking was in England, steeped as we are in the high drama that jury selection has become in the United States. But it is worth bearing in mind that in England there is no such thing as jury selection. Jurors are pulled from the pool at random, lottery-style.

At the behest of the defense, the court took steps that the defense itself was unable to take to eliminate from the jury panel those whom he feared — without a wit of evidence — might not be impartial. The judge reportedly announced, “For obvious reasons, members of the jury of the Jewish or Hindu faith should reveal themselves, even if they are married to Jewish or Hindu women, because they are not fit to arbitrate in this case.”

Comments: (1) As ever, Muslims raise startling new issues and Islam drives the social and legal agenda in the West. (2) Has anyone else noticed the propensity of Islamists defendants to hire Jewish lawyers? (3) Are the el-Faisal and Shehadeh one-off aberrations or the start of an ominous trend? Only time will tell.

Originally published at DanielPipes.org and National Review Online, The Corner, March 11, 2013.

Are Drone Strikes Analogous to the Civil War?

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Pundits have for weeks been erroneously comparing the issue of “killing Americans” with drone strikes abroad to the brother-against-brother character of the U.S. Civil War of 1861-1865.  It’s time to point out that the Civil War is a false analogy to the drone-execution issue.  This false analogy muddies the waters, and the public debate over executive privilege and the people’s rights needs to proceed without it.

There are two basic aspects of the Civil War that make it different from the War on Terror, in the ways that matter to the drone issue.  One is an obvious feature of the Civil War:  the South formally seceded from the Union and called itself a separate nation, the Confederate States of America.  The Confederacy thus severed its citizens’ compact with the U.S. Constitution.  Plotting acts of terrorism doesn’t sever a U.S. citizen’s constitutional rights; it makes him prosecutable under U.S. law, in accordance with the protections afforded him by the Constitution.

An American citizen’s constitutional rights do not, in my view, apply to foreigners who plot or commit terrorist acts against America.  My point is not that all terrorists “deserve” constitutional protection in our justice system, if American citizens do.  But in terms of where executive privilege stops, in the matter of executing terrorists or in other ways denying them due process under the U.S. justice system, the bright line is American citizenship.  Even if the citizen is Anwar al-Awlaki.

The other relevant aspect of the Civil War is less discussed, however.  That aspect is its military character.  The Civil War was, for the South, about holding territory by force of arms, and administering it as a separate nation.  For the North, it was about retaking territory by force of arms.  The mode of the conflict was therefore the form in which pitched battle was met in the mid-19th century.  The Civil War was about moving armies over territory and fighting for ground.

It was thus inherently about orchestrated opportunities for killing soldiers in pitched-battle combat.  Given the objectives on each side, it could not have been about anything else.  Lincoln had no intention of merely bottling up the South, absorbing long-term costs – political and military – and letting time be his main ally.  The South had no intention of merely accepting “occupation” and fighting a debilitating guerrilla campaign over decades to wear the Union down.  Both sides sought to establish sovereignty over the Southern states’ territory as soon as possible, envisioning a future of pacification and peace, according to their separate political concepts.

Given these factors, the necessity for killing Confederate soldiers had asignificance to the objective that it does not have in the War on Terror.  The only way to win pitched battles on land is to kill the enemy soldiers.  That makes them eventually stop fighting, in a given battle.  Over time, it reduces their ranks and their scope of action, until their leaders either accept defeat or set themselves up for annihilation.  The end-state of this process is the winning side controlling the territory in question and dictating terms to the survivors.

The War on Terror does not have this character.  Although it is, ultimately, about whose view of political morality will prevail on territory, the mode of the conflict is not pitched land battle.  Therefore, the mere killing of enemy combatants is not inherently significant to America’s objective.  It is important to have that clear.  We are not advancing our own security, merely by killing terrorists.  Read that again, please, and understand it.  In the Civil War, it was inherently significant to the military and political objectives to kill combatants.  In the War on Terror, it is not.

In Afghanistan, where the American objective has been to put territory under the control of a friendly, moderate local government, it is significant to the objective to kill the terrorists who attack friendly troops and civilians.  Those terrorists are acting as guerrillas, seeking to deny us the territory that will fulfill our objective.  Their relation to our objective in space and time is what makes it essential to kill them.

But that’s not what Anwar al-Awlaki – a U.S. citizen – was doing when he was executed by a drone strike in Yemen.  He wasn’t involved in a tactical campaign to deny us territory (as the Taliban are, for example).  He wasn’t facing American troops, armed and recalcitrant and posing an immediate threat to their lives.  At the time of his execution, there was no tactical, operational, or strategic necessity to kill him to advance the U.S. objective in the War on Terror.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/are-drone-strikes-analogous-to-the-civil-war/2013/02/11/

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