Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oxymoranic "Israeli Justice Ministry" Refuses to Intervene in Tzvia's Case


OK, this is just getting weirder and weirder. The only explanation I have for this bazaar situation is that Hashm wishes to inform us that the legal lynching is not our imagination, and Hashm wishes for Tzvia to win enough of a settlement for false imprisonment that she can form her own foundation AND live comfortably for the rest of her life.

May it be so!



Jerusalem -- Israel's judiciary system has disassociated itself from the conduct of a Kfar Saba magistrate who sent an 18 year-old Jewish girl to prison for a fourth month despite the recantation of the prosecution's chief witnesses.

The Justice Ministry said it was not responsible for the behavior of Judge Navah Bechor who sent Tzvia Sariel for a fourth month in jail despite the fact that the prosecution's two witnesses refused to identify Sariel as the girl who allegedly assaulted them. The two Arab witnesses also asked the court to withdraw their complaints against Sariel and to release her.

The Justice Ministry's spokesperson's office refused to answer questions about the trial and directed to the police prosecutor's office.

"You must refer your questions [about the trial of Tzvia Sariel] to the police spokesperson's office," the Justice Ministry spokesperson's office said, "because the police prosecutor's office and not the state prosecution is conducting the case against Tzvia Sariel."

The police prosecutor's office refused to respond to any questions about the trial.

On March 5, Kfar Saba magistrates Court Judge Nava Bechor ordered Sariel sent for a fourth month to prison despite the lack of prosecution evidence. The judge declared 81 year-old Abdel Baki Shahada Amar a hostile witness after he refused to identify Sariel as the girl who attempted to grab his walking cane until Israeli soldiers intervened to stop the incident. Amar also testified that he had been duped by the police into signing a statement identifying Sariel as the alleged attacker. Amar told the court that he didn't read Arabic and did not know what he was signing.

A second witness, Abdel Karim Hussein, 36, also refused to identify Sariel as the alleged attacker. Hussein asked that his complaints be withdrawn and Sariel be released.

The two Arabs and four other Arabs had been escorted by Civil Administration officials and the army into the West Bank Jewish community of Elon Moreh on December 4, 2007 ostensibly to pick olives but Hussein testified that they had not stepped on that land for 20 years. He said that the Civil Administration had warned them that the Jews would confiscate the land if they didn't accompany them into Elon Moreh, where Sariel lives.

Sariel, one of three girls who yelled at the Arabs to leave and pushed them, refused to identify herself when police arrested her and has refused to recognize the authority of the court and refused to be represented by an attorney.

"She is a captive on the basis of political revenge," attorney Hillel Weiss, empowered by Sariel to read her statement to the court, said. "Not to respect the authority is not a criminal offense. This has become a war of principles and you cannot make this into a life sentence."

Instead, Bechor, who had taken numerous breaks during the hearing, whispered her decision to a court stenographer to delay the trial for another month and send Sariel back to jail. She then fled into chambers.

Earlier, chief police prosecutor Shir Laufer, reportedly asked Ruth Sariel, Tzvia's mother, to sign a release on behalf of her daughter while threatening that the trial would not be concluded that day. This despite the fact that all the prosecution witnesses were present and the trial had already been postponed several times, once due to the illness of the judge and a second time due to the lack of a court intrepreter.

"In a criminal trial, there must be reasonable evidence of the crime, otherwise the defendant should be acquitted," Weiss said.

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