Thursday, May 27, 2010

Amnesty International and Israel's Court System

You may perhaps recollect how Amnesty International was displeased with Israel, some two weeks back, for arresting Ameer Makhoul. Israel was harassing him for his activities as the boss of an NGO, and AI was threatening to describe him as a prisoner of conscience, no less. They also called upon Israel, in the unlikely case it had evidence against him, to bring him to trial in accordance with international fair trial standards. (For the full text of their position, see here).

The Israeli police has completed its investigation, the prosecution has written up an indictment and presented it to court, and it turns out he's being accused of rather serious crimes. Here's a summary of them.

Of course, we don't know if he's guilty. That's what trials are for. Nor do we know if he's innocent, even though AI made up its mind long ago, apparently, otherwise their communique of May 13th would be malicious and unprofessional.

I am sending this to my old acquaintance Neil Durkin, who works in the press department of AI; perhaps he'll be able to clarify matters for us.

(h/t Yair)


NormanF said...

Ya'acov, and its just a coincidence Amnesty International just released an Israel-bashing report accusing the country of committing "serious war crimes?"

Sorry, I'm not buying it.

Anonymous said...

Wow! These are very serious accusations. This is so depressing.

I hate to nitpick on the English language but, y-net wrote:

"Makhoul,...confessed during a police interrogation in 2008 that he met with a Hezbollah operative in Denmark ..."

I think they want to say that the meeting was in 2008 and not the police interrogation. It should read "during a police interrogation that in 2008..."


Anonymous said...

forever interested in the money trail I must conclude that the head of an organisation like Ittijah can be nothing but angelic - how does one even dare to suspect him of anything bad if he even takes care that nobody gets to know who funds his outfit.

How come that organisations who are all about transparency and bring it out in the open and try to hide nothing are so discrete when it comes to their funding? But of course transparency is only for the non-canonized?


Updated funding information is not available due to lack of transparency.

Scott said...

I'd like to second that this is a very good blog. One question, if I may.

Is the two week delay between arrest and unveiling charges normal for the Israeli justice system? Assuming that the charges would have been more prosaic, such as...oh embezzling or something similar. I know over here in the USA there's generally a delay, especially in high-profile cases.

Barry Meislin said...

Wait just a minute:

* Israeli Arab (or Palestinian)?
* In charge of a Not-For-Profit org. trying to improve the lot of Israelis Arabs (or Palestinians)?
* Trying to undermine the Zionist Entity?
* Arrested by the Zionist Entity?

Given the spirit of the times, how can this man of virtue possibly be guilty?

Yaacov said...


the time between initial arrest and the submitting of an indictment depends on how long it takes the legal folks to put together the indictment - in other words, it's a function of the evidence they've got. It can be two days, or five years, depending.

Keeping suspects under arrest prior to the indictment is limited, and requires the repeated intervention of a judge.

I expect this is pretty common in most democratic countries.

Yair said...

And now the plea bargain.

But it's OK. He insists that all the information he gave to Hezbollah - that well-known associate of staunch human rights activists - they already knew. I'm sure that makes Amnesty feel a whole lot better. You think they'll apologize? Or continue to undermine and ignore the sovereignty and rule of law in countries they've decided to despise a priori?