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(Ismael Mohamad / United Press International)

Israel places journalist in incommunicado detention

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Majd Kayyal was arrested and held incommunicado by Israel’s Shin Bet.

(Arabs 48)

Israel has arrested and placed in incommunicado detention the journalist and researcher Majd Kayyal, a Palestinian citizen of Israel.

The Electronic Intifada has obtained the closed court transcript and gag order – which Israeli media are strictly forbidden from publishing – extending the detention and interrogation of 23-year-old Kayyal under the auspices of the Shin Bet (also known as Shabak), Israel’s secret police.

The original document and a full translation are available below.

According to the court document, Kayyal is being investigated for suspicion of “unlawful travel to Arab countries” and “contact with a foreign agent.”

These are, according to the attorney representing Shin Bet, “serious offenses against the security of the state.”

These kinds of accusations are habitually used by Israel’s secret police to target and silence Palestinian citizens of Israel who are active in exposing and challenging Israel’s racist and undemocratic laws and practices.

As well as being a journalist, Kayyal is a web editor at Adalah, a legal advocacy organization for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Kayyal also participated in November 2011 flotilla attempting to break Israel’s maritime siege of Gaza. The flotilla, in which dozens of journalists and activists took part, was intercepted by Israeli forces.

Adalah has previously told the United Nations that the restrictions Israel imposes on Palestinian citizens’ travel to and meeting people from other Arab countries – so-called “enemy states” – are part of a policy that “seeks to impose severe limitations on social, cultural and religious ties between … Palestinian citizens of Israel” and the “wider Arab and Muslim nations.”

Arrested

Adalah announced on its Facebook page that Kayyal was arrested on Saturday evening at the Sheikh Hussein crossing on the Israeli-Jordanian border.

However an attorney representing the Shin Bet said at a closed court hearing today that Kayyal had been arrested at his home in Haifa.

The news website Arabs 48 published on Facebook the mobile phone photo at the top of this post showing Kayyal as he was being arrested.

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Majd Kayyal, second from right, takes part in a seminar in Beirut organized by As-Safir newspaper. (Muhammad Sharara/As-Safir/Facebook)

Kayyal “was returning from a conference he independently attended to mark the 40th anniversary of the As-Safir newspaper in Beirut, Lebanon,” Adalah said.

Kayyal has frequently written for As-Safir and wrote about his trip to Beirut – his first ever.

Kayyal considered his visit to Beirut a dream come true and posted images of himself in the Lebanese capital on his Facebook page.

Adalah noted that its lawyers “attempted to visit Kayyal at the detention camp, but the police issued an order preventing him from meeting with a lawyer.”

Closed hearing

On Sunday morning in a closed hearing, Israeli police asked a judge to extend Kayyal’s detention for 15 days, the maximum allowed under the law.

The judge Zayed Falah, a former military prosecutor, extended Kayyal’s detention until 22 April and imposed a total ban on media reporting about Kayyal’s arrest or detention. The judge also decreed that all court proceedings would be closed.

Falah also upheld the ban on Kayyal meeting with lawyers during his detention. Such bans can be extended for 48 hours at a time.

During the hearing, an attorney for Kayyal – who had not been allowed to meet Kayyal – questioned the police attorney regarding Kayyal’s detention.

The police attorney refused to provide details of the supposed evidence against Kayyal, stating that details were in a secret report provided to the judge. The police attorney said Shin Bet had yet to carry out most of its investigations.

Kayyal’s lawyer said that “prohibiting a meeting with an attorney is a gross violation of the suspect’s basic rights.”

Kayyal himself was then brought into the courtroom at which point his family and attorney had to leave the room. According to the court transcript, Kayyal stated:

I ask to be told the names of the attorneys and the court gave me their names. The court has explained to me about the prohibition from meeting attorneys until 14 April 2014, at midnight, and told me that the hearing was held in the presence of my attorneys, who asked the representative of the police questions. The court has explained to me that my father, mother and brother were present in the courtroom. I have nothing further to add.

The full court transcript, which the Israeli public are forbidden from seeing, translated by Dena Shunra, is published below.

Note: The Electronic Intifada has redacted the home address of Kayyal from the court transcript and from the translation.


Translation of court transcript

[Seal of the State of Israel]

At the Magistrate’s Court in Haifa

13 April 2013

Days of Arrest 23318-04-14 Central Unit vs. Kayyal

Before the honorable justice Dr. Zayed Falah

Petitioner: Police Central Unit Versus Suspect Majd Kayyal

Present

  • Attorney for the petitioner – Warrant Officer Marcel Daman
  • Attorney for the suspect – Adv. Aram Mahamid and Adv. Fadi Khouri
  • Suspect – no appearance (he is brought into the court after the interrogation by the attorney for the suspect and the summaries)
  • Relatives of the suspect – his father, brother and mother

Minutes

Attorney for the Petitioner

Restates the content of the petition. Presents the investigative file to the court for perusal. Presents secret material.

Attorney for the Petitioner, in response to questions from the attorney for the suspects:

Q: Are you informed about all the investigative actions taken to date:

A: No.

Q: Have you given the court all the investigative material that has already been collected?

A: Indeed.

Q: Does the material presented to the Court include investigative memoranda and investigative actions that have already been done?

A: Yes.

Q: Have you also conveyed all of the actions that are yet to be taken?

A: Yes.

Q: At what stage is the investigation?

A: The investigation is still at its very beginning. The suspect was only arrested yesterday. According to the material that was found, he is expected to be investigated a few more times and the full future plan is before the court. I cannot commit myself to the number of investigations because I am not an investigator.

Q: What is the suspect suspected of?

A: What appears in the warrant. Contact with a foreign agent, leaving the country unlawfully.

Q: Is there a version for the suspicions?

A: {it is] all before the court. I have not investigated him and I will not investigate him. It’s all by the Security Service [Shabak].

Q: About the foreign agent crime - is it known who he is?

A: I cannot specify. It is all in the secret report.

Q: What are the circumstances of the contact with the agent?

A: It’s indicated in the secret report. As to dates – there is no exact date, everything is in the secret report.

Q: About the two suspicions – are they related?

A: I think so.

Q: Did the contact with the foreign agent happen while he was carrying out the second offense?

A: The investigation is being performed by the security services. All the material is before the court, for perusal. I cannot specify beyond this.

Q: An order restraining a meeting with an attorney at 8. The arrest warrant was issued at 9:30. Explain the gap.

A: It’s a technical computer transaction, [it took] until we took out the computer. He was arrested yesterday evening. He was apprehended at 19:50 hours. This restraining order is under the responsibility of the security entities.

Q: In the matter of the order – did you explain the suspect that he is prohibited from meeting an attorney?

A: I did not review the content of the warning because the security service did the investigation. All the material is before the court and there is a secret report attached. The security services could not appear in court, and that is why I am here.

Q: Did he wish to give a message to his relatives?

A: I know that there was contact with his relatives. He was informed that he is under arrest. Beyond that I have no idea.

Q: Did you inform one of his relatives that he is restrained from contacting an attorney?

A: I have no answer about that. It is in the investigative material.

Q: Was the suspect investigated about one event or about several events?

A: All the material is before the court, all the actions taken from the moment he was arrested to this day. I cannot confirm the number of events.

Q: Can you confirm that the suspect cooperated in his interrogation and answered all the questions?

A: I have not reviewed what was investigated and asked. I was asked to come [here] for extension of the detention. The security services continue their investigation. All the material is before the court.

Q: How many investigative activities did you do yesterday?

A: A preliminary investigation and a continuation today. I don’t know how many investigations were done yesterday. There was a preliminary investigation.

Q: Explain why you are asking for 15 days of detention?

A: These are serious offenses against the security of the state and there is material to be investigated.

Q: Are there details of all 15 days that require his continued detention, in the form of a work plan?

A: There are not specific details of each stage and what is done every day. The actions that are detailed could change, because they are dynamic. They cannot be done when he is discharged. The suspect was arrested at his home in Haifa.

Q: Was the search performed in one house or two?

A: The material is in the investigative file.

Q: Did you have a search warrant?

A: Yes. I know about the search warrant at the up-to-date address, which the Israel Police has. I know one address, [REDACTED] Street.

Q: Did you issue search warrants to two addresses?

A: I issued a search warrant for [REDACTED] Street, which is his address, as recorded in his personal ID card.

Q: Confirm that the suspect has no criminal record.

A: I did not examine his criminal record.

The attorney for the petitioner summarizes:

I repeat the petition. I ask that it be fully granted.

The attorney for the suspect summarizes:

This is a 23-year old journalist, with no criminal record, who was apparently apprehended on the Israel/Jordan border. Since his arrest he has not been permitted to consult an attorney. No notice was given to his attorney and/or his family to visit him in his detention nor with regard to the prohibition on his meeting an attorney. As you know, and it is decided law, that prohibiting a meeting with an attorney is a gross violation of the suspect’s basic rights. I ask the court to take this into account and examine how many actions are required when the suspect is under arrest. I ask that he be released immediately. Alternatively, that he be released under conditions. As another alternative, that the number of days required under detention be reduced.

The suspect is brought into the courtroom, his family and attorney leave the room.

The suspect:

I ask to be told the names of the attorneys and the court gave me their names. The court has explained to me about the prohibition from meeting attorneys until 14 April 2014, at midnight, and told me that the hearing was held in the presence of my attorneys, who asked the representative of the police questions. The court has explained to me that my father, mother and brother were present in the courtroom. I have nothing further to add.

Decision

  1. I have before me a request to extend the suspect’s detention for 15 days, due to suspicion of committing the crimes of contact with a foreign agent and unlawful travel to Arab countries.

  2. I have reviewed the evidentiary material presented to me and have been persuaded that there is reasonable cause to suspect that the suspect has committed the crimes he is charged with. I have also been persuaded that there is the risk that if he is released he could disrupt the investigation and endanger public security.

  3. I have perused the secret report prepared by the Shabak, which I have marked BM/1. This report includes background, investigative actions taken, and investigative actions that are still required, and I have been persuaded that the security entities must be permitted to complete their investigation fully, to come to the study of the truth.

  4. I considered the possibility of releasing the suspect for an alternative form of custody and come to the conclusion that at this stage, there is no space for any alternative.

  5. I have taken into account the fact that an order has been issued to prohibit meeting an attorney and I have also taken into account that the court must be permitted to oversee the investigative actions performed by the security entities, and for this reason I have decided to grant a number of detention days [than those] requested.

  6. For this reason, I am extending the detention of the suspect until 22 April 2014, at 10am.

  7. I issue an order prohibiting publication with regard to all proceedings in this case until 22 April 2014 at 10:00 and the proceedings will be held in camera until that date.

These minutes constitute reference for the detention.

Handed down and informed today, 13 Nissan 5774, 13 April 2014, in the presence of those persons present.

[signature]
Dr. Zayed Falah, Judge

[END]

Original court document

Comments

" Israel’s racist and undemocratic laws and practices."

The fact that the judge in this case is an Arab or Druze, who previously served as a military prosecutor, is proof enough that Israel is neither racist nor undemocratic.

"Adalah has previously told the United Nations that the restrictions Israel imposes on Palestinian citizens’ travel to and meeting people from other Arab countries – so-called “enemy states” – are part of a policy that “seeks to impose severe limitations on social, cultural and religious ties between … Palestinian citizens of Israel” and the “wider Arab and Muslim nations.""
What nonsense. The same resrictions apply to ALL Israeli citizens, whether Jewish or Arab.

Hey,

You say: "The same resrictions apply to ALL Israeli citizens, whether Jewish or Arab."
ALL Israeli citizens doesn't really mean much... because you are surrounded by 11 neighboring countries who are your "enemies" and inside of which people actually have "social, cultural and religious ties" with the Arabs of 48... or, call them Palestinians "of the inside" if you wish. Giving someone a passport is not enough to erase their history.
The nonsense is actually really striking. #It's_not_us_it's_you :)

As a journalist who covered many court trials, local, state and federal, in my native U.S., I can state unequivocally that I have never seen anything so undemocratic and fascist as the Israeli "secret" court hearing involving this 23-year-old Palestinian who happens to be an "Israeli citizen"! This hearing was a mockery of anything approaching a legitimate court proceeding--a travesty against all fundamental values in jurisprudence! Anyone attempting to "defend" and/or "justify" this star chamber becomes a party to this mockery and travesty!

"5. I have taken into account the fact that an order has been issued to prohibit meeting an attorney and I have also taken into account that the court must be permitted to oversee the investigative actions performed by the security entities, and for this reason I have decided to grant a number of detention days [than those] requested."

Only in Israel (and a few other fascist nations) would 'meeting with an attorney' be considered a threat to national security.

That Majd article is not a Jadaliyya article. It was published in "shabab assafir" as written on the bottom of the Jadaliyya page: ينشر ضمن اتقاقية شراكة وتعاون بين جدلية وجريدة "السفير.

http://shabab.assafir.com/Arti...

"the restrictions Israel imposes on Palestinian citizens’ travel to and meeting people from other Arab countries", this restriction is on ALL ISRAELI CITIZENS not just Palestinian or Arab Israelis. It's just as American citizen are not being able to enter Cuba or N. Korea, legali and without special permits.