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Israeli Judge Avraham Haiman says "send everybody to jail"

Marianne Azizi photo
Marianne AziziTel Aviv
Israeli Judge Avraham Haiman says "send everybody to jail"
Israelis packed in detention houses on arbitrary illegal detentions.

Detention houses across Tel Aviv Metropolitan area are overcrowded with detainees, who are awaiting criminal trials whilst in jail on a peculiar status called 'intermediary detention', and they all blame one judge - Avraham Haiman of the Tel Aviv District Court for taking away their liberty and keeping them for months in detention without a hearing and without evidence.

Judge Haiman was appointed to the Tel Aviv District court on a temporary appointment in January 2017 for one year.  On June 12th 2017, the committee of judicial appointments will hear Judge Haiman's appliccation to make his appointment permanent.  The committee is accepting objections from the public up until May 21st 2017.  Meanwhile there isn't a single empty bed in all of the detention houses around Tel Aviv, and the detainees are circulating a petition to prevent the judge's appointment.

Judge Avraham Haiman is a former police prosecutor, married to a wife who is also a Chief Police Prosecutor.  He has made a name for himself as the most ruthless arresting judge the State of Israel has ever seen.  Except for one rapist who came from a wealthy and well connected family, no other deetainee has managed to be released on bail or to a house arrest after the filing of an indictment.  Everyone is being remanded to arrest until the end of proceedings no matter what the nature of the offense, or what conditions of house arrest are being offered.

"He wants to see everyone behind bars.  It doesn't matter what your defense lawyer argues, you will always lose." said one defense attorney unwilling to reveal his name.  "His court room is hostile.  His temper is like a erupting volcano."

Two weeks ago, in the prosecution of the 2 bloggers and human rights lawyer, in prison for the alleged wordpress shaming case of insulting judges and social workers - within 10 minutes Judge Haiman had thrown 2 of the 3 defendants out of the court.  One of them called him a liar, and said that any Court in the Palestinian Territory would be better than him.  "Even Isis is better than you", one of them remarked in a courtroom full of supporters.

The judge is taking advantage of a loophole in Israel's laws of detention.  According to the law, once the prosecution files an indictment it must present to a judge "prima facie" evidence of guilt in order to support an application for remand to detention until the end of trial.  It then needs to present proof of 'dangerousness'.  According to the law, dangerousness only exists in four cases - Murder; serious bodily harm; violence against women and drugs in commercial quantity.

However, what happens in Judge Haiman's court bears no resemblance to the demands of the law.  The prosecution files an application for a remand without any supporting evidence and claims that the defendant must then purchase the thousands of pages of evidence.  Then they claim that the evidence is not ready to be released.  At this point Judge Haiman demands that the defense argues for release without seeing the evidence and take the risk of making arguments againsst the unknown.  The defense can ask for a short adjournment to buy the evidence from the police.  But the judge complains that his caseload is heavy and postpones the release hearing week after week.

During this time the prosecution continues to claim they are still working on compiling the evidence and release absolutely nothing.  The next court date arrives and the prosecution applies for yet another extension - it is automatically granted, until the next hearing and the next.

This type of arrest is called intermediary arrest because the detainees are kept in prison for undefined and long periods of time without the prosecution showing one single piece of evidence.  Needless to say there is NO authority in Israel's Detention Laws for intermediary arrests and even Israel's Supreme Court has upheld the legality of these arrests (even in the absence of a statute) as a necessary tool 'in the aid of justice. 

Critics of this practice are complaining it also violates the UN Conventions, in particular Aticle 9 of the ICCPR against Arbitrary Detentions.  Yet no one so far has managed to convince the Supreme Court in Israel that it is a violation of citizen freedom.

Recently in one of the many hearings in the blogging scandal case, Judge Haiman opined that even after the hearing on the evidence, he is not inclined to release the defendants because in his mind, hateful or libel speech on a blog is equal to severe bodily injury, and the criticism of a judge or social worker means they endure the same injury to their reputation as a citizen who has been physically stabbed or maimed.

Sadly, there is no hope for the citizens of Israel in the Supreme Court in a country with 99% prosecution rates and where judges are former prosecutors.

The bloggers who are now standing for a criminal trial for insulting judges and criticising their methods are now in the hands of the very same judges who want to stop all criticism of their conduct and decisions.

In a remarkable twist, an application was made to recuse him from the case due to fact that 3 of the articles were discovered to contain criticism of his own methods.  The State of Israel is targetting the closure of the blogs - yet Judge Haiman claimed he had never seen the articles nor know of their existence.  He therefore refused to recuse himself.

Those in the courtroom were left with a bitter taste of hypocrisy.  Judge Haiman claimed the blogs were on a dangerous level of injury; the defendants were a risk to the public, and yet faced with the proof that he too was a 'victim', he claimed he didn't even know it.

Left in a very embarrassing corner, the Judge continues to insist on dangerousness without evidence.  He is a prime example of what could be the majority of 'victims' in the public sector. 

Meanwhile the 3 defendants continue to be prisoners of procedure, the length of time now creating what is an illegal arrest and detention, contravening Israel's own laws.

Hearings continue every week, with little sign of movement from the prosecution in delivering the evidence, as ordered by the trial Judge.

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