|Institut für Palästinakunde|
- IPK -
26 year old Khaled Zwahre was detained on 5.6.2011 during Naksa Day
protests in Qalandia while blocking an army vehicle that was about to
invade further into residential areas of Qalandia. According to
eye-witnesses, his arrest appeared random. Khaled was taken to Atarot
police station (in Qalandia industrial area, operated by the border
police), where he was suspected of participating in an unauthorized
demonstration and disturbing a policeman/soldier on duty. Only the
following day, two border policemen - one of whom wrote a report on the
day of arrest, incriminating Khaled only for the above mentioned
offenses - "remembered" that Khaled also threw stones, and gave a very
weak statement against him.
Although there are several videos and photographs that show that Khaled was arrested while blocking the army vehicle, and although there are several witnesses including journalists willing to testify that Khaled only used his voice in chants and his body in trying to block the vehicle during that protest, and despite of the weakness of the border policemen's testimonies, Khaled was indicted on July 12 and charged with participating in an unauthorized demonstration, disturbing a policeman/soldier on duty, AND stone throwing.
The military court in Ofer ordered that Khaled be remanded, meaning that he be kept under arrest until the end of proceedings. Khaled's lawyers appealed against the remand decision (there was a hearing concerning this appeal on June 15th at the military court of appeals). The appeals court took an outrageously long time to decide and finally rejected the appeal, meaning that it confirmed that Khaled – without the question of "guilt" even being addressed – is to be kept under arrest until the end of the proceedings.
The actual trial – where the allegations against Khaled are being heard and judged – only started on August 3. The policeman who arrested him testified against Khaled, giving false testimony – in a confident way – that upheld the allegation of stone throwing. Fortunately, Khaled's lawyers are in possession of video footage that clearly proves that the policeman was lying.
The next hearing will take place on August 14. Khaled and other defense witnesses are scheduled to testify then, and ideally, if there is enough time to hear the concluding arguments the same day, the verdict would be given at the following hearing.
Khaled's lawyers are trying to speed up the process as much as possible to spare him unnecessary time in prison. Should the trial be prolonged, however, Khaled would be in the absurd – yet very common – situation that he would probably get released earlier if, despite of his innocence, he pleaded guilty and agreed to a "plea bargain" than if he continued his defense in his trial.
Khaled Zwahre is originally from Lydd, but was born in Ramallah. As the oldest of three brothers and three sisters, Khaled is the sole bread-winner in his family since his father's death several years ago. Living in Ramallah by himself and working as a painter, Khaled provides for his mother and siblings who are living in Beitunia. He has put several of siblings through school, with one of his sisters still studying. Khaled’s family home is currently also home to a friend of his who was in need of housing. Four months prior to his arrest, Khaled began regularly supporting the popular resistance in Nabi Saleh in solidarity.
Khaled is greatly missed by his friends and family, and we are all outraged at the absurdity and blatant injustice of his arrest.
Khaled would be pleased to see familiar faces at the hearing on August 14. If you would like to go, please send your full names and ID/passport numbers to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, August 11, at 12h. (ts)