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Jerusalem 1500/Section 3

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CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 01 JERUSA 01500 03 OF 04 311104Z
ACTION NEA-11

INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 HA-05 CIAE-00 DODE-00 PM-05 H-01
INR-10 L-03 NSAE-00 NSC-05 PA-01 SP-02 SS-15
ICA-11 10-13 MCT-01 /084 W
020304 311129Z /15

R 310907Z MAY 78
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1022
INFO AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV

CONFIDENTIAL SECTION 3 OF 4 JERUSALEM 1500

8. TRIAL. OF THE FIFTEEN APPLICANTS, TWELVE WERE ULTIMATELY BROUGHT TO TRIAL UNDER RELEVANT SECURITY REGULATIONS. TWO APPLICANTS STATED THAT, IN ORDER TO OBTAIN LIGHTER SENTENCES, THEY MADE A SECOND CONFESSION AT THEIR TRIALS, PUBLICALLY REAFFIRMING STATEMENTS ORIGINALLY OBTAINED UNDER TORTURE AND FORMALLY REGRETTING THEIR ALLEGED CRIMES. BOTH INDIVIDUALS CLAIMED THAT THEY HAD IN ACTUALITY BEEN INNOCENT OF THE CHARGES, AND THAT THEY HAD MADE PUBLIC FALSE CONFESSIONS AT THE ADVICE OF THEIR ATTORNEYS. COURT RECORDS INDICATE THAT AN ADDITIONAL FIVE APPLICANTS ALSO MADE SIMILAR PUBLIC CONFESSIONS. ANOTHER APPLICANT SAID THAT AT HIS TRIAL, THE JUDGE ASKED HIM IF HE CONFESSEDTO [sic] THE CHARGES, AND HE REPLIED THAT HE WAS INNOCENT, AND THAT HE REPUDIATED THE CONFESSIONS OBTAINED DURING INTERRO- GATION. HIS LAWYER THEN INTERRUPTED AND, PRODUCING A SIGNED POWER OF ATTORNEY, CONFESSED TO THE CHARGES IN HIS CLIENT'S NAME, OVER THE LATTER'S OBJECTIONS. THE ACCUSED'S REPUDIATION OF HIS CONFESSIONS WAS STRICKEN FROM THE RECORD, AND AN ADDITIONAL PUBLIC CONFESSION RECORDED. LOCAL ATTORNEYS SPECIAL- IZING IN PLEADING BEFORE ISRAELI MILITARY COURTS CONFIRM THAT THEY NORMALLY URGE CLIENTS TO CONFESS IN CASES WHERE THE CHARGES ENCOMPASS PETTY ACTIONS -- REGARDLESS WHETHER OR NOT THESE CHARGES ARE TRUE. THE ATTORNEYS STATE THAT PERSONS WHO DO NOT FORMALLY REGRET THEIR ALLEGED ACTIONS IN COURT ARE OFTEN SUB- JECTED TO HARSHER SENTENCES FOR OBDURACY. IT IS ALSO NOTEWORTHY

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THAT SEVERAL APPLICANTS, WHO KNEW NO HEBREW, HAD SERIOUS MISCONCEPTIONS REGARDING THE EXACT CHARGES AGAINST THEM OR THE EVIDENCE MARSHALLED TO PROVE THESE CHARGES. FOR EXAMPLE, ONE APPLICANT, WHO HAD BEEN CONVICTED OF MEMBERSHIP IN FATAH AND SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR A PERIOD EQUIVALENT TO THE PERIOD OF PRETRIAL DETENTION, THE SENTENCE TO BEGIN RETRO- ACTIVELY FROM THE DATE OF ARREST, SAID THAT HE DID NOT THINK THAT HE HAD BEEN CHARGED WITH ANYTHING, AND THAT HE HAD BEEN DEEMED INNOCENT BY THE COURT BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN RELEASED IMMEDIATELY AFTER TRIAL. AS EACH OF THE APPLICANTS HAD PRESENTED THE INTERVIEWING CONSULAR OFFICER WITH A COPY OF THE COURT TRANSCRIPT PRIOR TO MAKING THEIR STATEMENTS, IT IS DIFFICULT TO CONCEIVE THAT SUCH INACCURACIES REPRESENT OTHER THAN GENUINE IGNORANCE. MILITARY COURT TRIALS ARE GENERALLY CONDUCTED IN HEBREW, WITH WHAT PURPORTS TO BE SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION INTO ARABIC. THE INTERVIEWING CONSULAR OFFICER HAS ATTENDED A MILITARY COURT SESSION AT WHICH SEVERAL OF THE CHARGES AGAINST THE ACCUSED WERE NOT TRANSLATED INTO ARABIC, AND TRANSLATION OF LONG EXCHANGES BETWEEN THE ATTORNEYS AND THE JUDGES WAS SO SKIMPY THAT THE PROCEEDINGS COULD BE FOLLOWED WITH DIFFICULTY, IF AT ALL. ONE APPLICANT CLAIMED THAT NO ARABIC TRANSLATION WHATSOEVER WAS PROVIDED AT HIS TRIAL, DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE UNDERSTOOD NO OTHER LANGUAGE BUT ARABIC. NONE OF THE TWELVE APPLICANTS WHO WERE TRIED, HOWEVER, EXPRESSED MUCH CONCERN WITH SUCH PROCEDURAL POINTS. RATHER, THEY APPEARED TO VIEW THEIR TRIALS AS LITTLE MORE THAN A NECESSARY FORMALITY PRELIMINARY TO CONVICTION AND PRISON.

9. THE OUTCOME. MOST APPLICANTS CONVEYED THE IMPRESSION THAT, ONCE ARRESTED, THEY FOUND THEMSELVES IN THE TOILS OF A SYSTEM WHICH THEY HAD NO HOPE OF INFLUENCING OR UNDERSTANDING. ONE GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS, WHO HAD BEEN CONVICTED AND DONE TIME, SEEMED TO FEEL THAT ARREST MORE OR LESS AUTOMATICALLY LED

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TO TORTURE, CONFESSION, TRIAL, AND PRISON, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE PERSON'S ACTIONS HAD BEEN. THE SECOND GROUP, WHO HAD BEEN INTERROGATED AND THEN RELEASED WITHOUT TRIAL, GENERALLY SHARED THIS VIEW AND HENCE HAD NO REAL COMPREHENSION OF THE REASONS FOR THEIR RELEASE, VIEWING IT LARGELY AS A MATTER OF LUCK. ONLY ONE INDIVIDUAL NOTED THE INTERVENTION OF AN OUTSIDE ORGANIZATION IN THE PROCESS: A TEACHER (NOW UNIVERSITY LECTURER),


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WHO HAD FRIENDS IN SEVERAL US-BASED OIL COMPANIES, BELIEVED THAT THE INTEREST SHOWN IN HIS CASE BY SEVERAL US SENATORS MAY HAVE FACILITATED HIS RELEASE FROM ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION. HE AND ANOTHER APPLICANT, A UNIVERSITY STUDENT, APPEAR TO HAVE TAKEN AN ACTIVE INTEREST IN PREPARING THEIR DEFENSE. A THIRD APPLICANT, PARDONED AFTER MORE THAN TWO YEARS OF INCARCERATION, ATTRIBUTED HIS RELEASE TO THE UNREMITTING EFFORTS OF HIS AMERICAN PERMANENT RESIDENT MOTHER TO OBTAIN REVIEW OF THE CASE BY TWO SUCCESSIVE MILITARY GOVERNORS. THE REMAINING TWELVE APPLICANTS, FOR THE MOST PART EITHER HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS OR LABORERS, AND THEIR PEASANT OR WORKING-CLASS FAMILIES, PLAYED A MORE PASSIVE ROLE.

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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).