Lawyers for Ameer Makhoul, director of the Israeli Palestinian NGO Ittijah, who was arrested two weeks ago in the dead of night on the vague, but grave espionage charge of meeting with a Hezbollah agent, have protested their inability to meet with him by refusing to appear at future court proceedings. I think this is a bold, but wise decision as it puts the court on record that the victims will no longer cooperate with the charade that they are facing justice properly administered in a fair and balanced democratic system.
It’s worth quoting at length from Adalah’s (the NGO which represents him) hard-hitting but eloquent statement in protest of the current legal limbo in which he is placed:
…The legal defense team of Ameer Makhoul declared that they would not participate in the detention hearing in the Petakh Tikvah Magistrate Court tomorrow, Monday 17 May, if the prohibition on meeting a lawyer is not lifted.
…Since 6 May, there have been two detention hearings before the Petakh Tikvah court. At both of these hearings, the detention was extended without Mr. Makhoul having the right to meet his lawyers…
He was brought to the court but was not allowed to appear at his own hearings. Secret information was exchanged between the court and the General Security Services (GSS or Shabak) at the hearings. Questions were asked and notes passed between the court and the Shabak. No information was given to his lawyers about the substance of the investigation or his personal health condition or the conditions of his detention. All this information was classified. Thus the court has in effect only heard the side of the Shabak.
The legal defense team is convinced that under these circumstances, due to the total lack of respect for due process, the representation of Ameer Makhoul in the detention hearings has become meaningless. In this instance, the legal system is a simply rubber stamp for the Shabak. It should be emphasized that the Supreme Court of Israel has never accepted an appeal against a ban on meeting with a lawyer.
Furthermore, as a result of Mr. Makhoul’s classification as a “security detainee”, he is exposed to harsh conditions of confinement and continuous investigation by the Shabak. In addition to being barred from meeting with his lawyers, he is also unable to meet his family (his wife Janan and their two daughters), and has no right to make a telephone call or send a letter. In addition there is no video or audio recording or full written record of the investigations to which he has been subjected over the last eleven days. These conditions, his almost complete isolation for the outside world and the violation of his right to due process are all conducive to torture and/or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
Ahad Ha’am, the visionary proponent of cultural Zionism, imagined Israel as a “light unto the nations.” It is cases like this and policies like this that turn Israeli into a laughingstock among the nations. H/t Didi Remez.