Paul Larudee Deportation Hearing Thursday, June 15.06 District Court, Tel Aviv, Judge Pilpel; Defense Lawyer: Gaby Lasky
Dear all, for those of you who have read Neta’s depiction of yesterday’s proceedings, it was accurate (“It was just like an administrative detention trail. The defense and prosecution lawyers only made opening statements, the judge then asked to see the shabak in her quarters/room privately and when she came back she said that their was no point in discussing anything else and that she would give her answer on Sun 8:30.”) Here I merely add details, FYI.
One aspect was different from the usual. The policeman in charge of Paul allowed him to meet freely with all who came, and freely to talk to us. In the courtroom Paul sat in a back row next to Adam Keller, who translated the proceedings. The policeman accompanying Paul sat in the same row, but not next to Paul. He did not appear worried that Paul would run off, nor overbearing in any other way. Let me emphasize, that this is not the usual. At least not in my experience of deportation hearings and trials, and I’ve been to quite a few these past 6 or so years.
One aspect that was wholly normative in supposedly ‘democratic’ Israel is that the defendant and his/her lawyer are denied access to some of the specific charge(s) and to crucial so-called ‘evidence’ against the defendant. The sole eyes privy to this ‘secret information’ are the judge’s and the prosecution’s (i.e., the shabak’s). Consequently, in these ‘democratic’ proceedings, the defense lawyer and defendant have no way to deny either the charge(s) or the 'secret' evidence, no matter how false the latter might be. The prosecution therefore always has the upper hand. But one thing is sure: the defense can always surmise that the charge involves security: i.e., the accused is supposedly a menace to Israel’s security.
Gaby organized her defense under 2 heads, at the outset advising the judge of them:
1. Paul is no threat to Israel’s security; 2. the Minister of Interior has not set guidelines for whom to permit or refuse entry.
When, however, Gaby tried to deal with the second of these, the judge cut her short, saying that she had enough evidence (or that she had heard enough), and advised that the verdict would be handed down on Sunday, June 18 at 8:30 AM.
Under the first heading Gaby began by relating data about Paul: e.g., that he is 60 years old, that he has a PHD in linguistics, that he is a professional piano tuner, that he is humanistic and desires to help people. She related that because there are no skilled piano tuners in the Palestinian Territories, that Paul felt that he could help by using his skills to tune pianos, that he had brought the tools of his trade with him, and that he had specific appointments to tune pianos. She argued that Paul was no enemy of Israel. As proof she related that in the US he sold products of an Israeli company that exports organic olive oil and soap produced from olive oil. She noted that he has been in Israel and the Territories 4 previous times, and that he had never previously been detained. Gaby further pointed out that Paul has numerous Israeli friends, some of whom were in the audience, one of whom was Professor Tanya Reinheart. She acknowledged that he had taken part in ISM activities, including working in the office and attending non-violent demonstrations against the wall.
Since one accusation against him was that he had been at the house of a suicide bomber in 2003, Gaby acknowledged this, but related that the suicide bomber had no longer been alive when Paul visited, that Paul had gone to meet the suicide’s aged parents, that the Israeli military had not given an order to demolish the home, and that Paul therefore had not interfered in any way with the military’s activities, and that the house had not been subsequently demolished.
When the judge asked what activities Paul intended to participate in during his stay (apart from his piano tuning), Gaby related that his plans included ISM, but that it has no calendar of events. Gaby--presuming that the judge had been given Lee Kaplan’s malicious report on the ISM as evidence of its subversive nature--countered Kaplan’s depiction of ISM as false, claimed that ISM is non-violent, that Paul has no intention of obstructing law and order, and would be willing to forgo participating in demonstrations, if permitted to stay.
The prosecution declared that Paul was a high official in ISM, which Gaby denied, explaining that ISM has no hierarchy, and that decisions are by consensus. The judge asked the prosecution if it would have any objection to Paul’s remaining if he signed a document stating that he would not participate in demonstrations, to which the prosecution retorted that Paul could not be trusted, giving several reasons, all of which Gaby energetically (and convincingly) countered, having documents to support her claim.
Did Gaby convince the judge? Probably not. In cases as these, the judges’ decisions often appear to have been made before the hearings begin. Still, surprises sometimes occur. We’ll know the outcome on Sunday. Will update.
Sure, Dorothy, Paul and the ISM are "nonviolent," that's why they act as human shields for terrorists who murder all Israelis, not just the Jews. That's why he tried to enter the country under a false identity because he wants peace and nonviolence for all. That's why he slept in the bed of a suicide bomber.Let'sface it, the ISM roils the war forever on behalf of the terrorist groups and must be shut down for good if there is to be any peace in the region.