Israeli bloggers and the vengeful judges – ongoing detention and chaos in the courtroom
The bloggers have been in custody for 8 months, and will remain in custody for the duration of the trial, following Judge Abraham Heiman’s unprecedented decision in a chaotic courtroom this week. Gag order was imposed on the entire hearing... The Public Defender’s Office conduct in this case, as in a previous whistle-blower’s case, appears deceitful. US DHS involvement is going to become a key issue in this case.
Tel-Aviv, October 28 – in a chaotic court hearing on Thursday (October 26), Judge Abraham Heiman denied request by Defense Counsel for bloggers Lori Shem-Tov and Moti Leybel and their former attorney, Zvi Zer, to be released to house arrest. The three have been detained since late February, an unprecedented case in Israel. Defense Counsel have cited a long list of murder and organized crime cases, where defendants had been released to house arrest during trial. The hearing marked ongoing vengeance of the Israeli judiciary against bloggers, who protested judicial corruption in the family courts. [i] Ongoing confinement of the Defendants in this case appears also aimed at undermining their ability to defend themselves, since access to court records and evidence in custody is severely restricted.
Thursday’s hearing was conducted in a tiny courtroom in the Tel-Aviv District Court, holding an audience of only a couple of dozens. The Defendants were brought into the courtroom amid yells by the public, “we love you”, “be strong”. Judge Heiman entered the courtroom visibly upset, slamming the door behind him, then leaving, once it turned out that Shem-Tov’s Counsel Yehonatan Rabinovich had not made it to the court hearing. Counsel of the other two Defendants proceeded to try to convince Shem-Tov, in blatant violation of due process, to forgo her right to have her counsel present.
Next, yells “Russia” from the audience to the judge, who got more upset and ordered some people out and entered a note to that effect into the protocol [minutes].
The court transcriptionist, dressed in extremely casual manner and visibly clueless about his job, raised concerns regarding the validity of the entire hearing as a lawful court hearing. Conduct of simulated court hearings is a common phenomenon in the Israeli courts today… [ii]
Next, Judge Heiman stated a decision, rendering the entire court hearing under gag order. It remains unclear: Did he intend that the fact that the Defendants remain in custody since late February remain a state secret?
Next, Heiman started reading his decision. Trying to reason the danger involved in releasing the Defendants to house arrest, he quote an offensive blog post, attributed to the Defendants, where Israeli media was described, submitting itself to intense anal intercourse with corrupt judges. Such quote made obvious, what was clear from the outset – the defamatory posts, pertaining to judicial corruption, were held by the judiciary a clear and present danger to the Israeli regime, and the vengeful judges were going to act accordingly. A person in the audience yelled at the judge, “you are clownish”, and a number of people left the courtroom in protest.
Following the hearing, some of Defendants’ supporters staged a spontaneous protest outside the court, some dressed in concentration camp outfits...
As expected, none of the matter was reported by Israeli media.
In an October 10 hearing, the Prosecution staunchly opposed release of the Defendants to house arrest. The prosecution argued at length - about 1.5 hours. Among the arguments: "negative feelings toward the authorities", "they are active in the social sphere, and influence others", "they have followers, who show up for court hearings, and believe that the Defendants are innocent, and that their long detention is abusive". The Prosecution also repeatedly referred to the Defendants' lawful public space, street protests against judicial corruption as some kind of serious crime, and repeatedly stressed the danger posed by the Internet...
In an October 09 visit with Shem-Tov in jail, she again complained that she had been denied access to any records of the evidence against her, as well any access to court records in her own court file.
During the September 10 hearing, Shem-Tov Public Defender Rabinovich stated that his efforts to deliver to Shem-Tov court records and investigation materials had been continuously scuttled by the Israel Prison Service. He further stated that he despaired of such attempts, and that the Public Defender’s Office had appointed Attorney Roy Lavi to handle the issue of Defendant Shem-Tov’s access to records.
In contrast, during an October 09 visit to Shem-Tov in jail, she stated that Attorney Lavi had resigned, due to “conflicts of interest”, and would not handle the matter.
Outside the October 10 court hearing, Counsel Rabinovich contradicted Shem-Tov’s claims and also contradicted his own previous statements on the record. Rabinovich newer version was that the real problem was that the Public Defender’s office had failed to issue an appointment for Attorney Roy Lavi in this case…
Conditions, where the Defendant is denied access to evidence and the Public Defender’s office engages in deceitful conduct are remarkably similar to conduct that was previously observed in the criminal prosecution of Tax Authority Rafi Rotem. [iii]
In the aftermath, attempt was made to inspect the Public Defenders’ Book, to establish whether Lavi was or was not appointed. The Public Defenders’ Book is a public record by Israeli law. However, as was the case during the prosecution of whistle-blower Rafi Rotem, the Public Defender’s Office denied access to inspect the Book.
Figure. State of Israel v Shem-Tov et al ( 17-04-14615) in the Tel-Aviv District Court – September 10, 2010 protocol [minutes], where Public Defender Yehontan Rabinovich stated on the record that Attorney Roy Lavi was appointed by the Public Defender’s Office to handle the denial of Defendant’s Shem-Tov to court records and investigation materials. The hearing was conducted in open court. However, the protocol record is falsely watermarked “Closed Doors”. Such perversion of the protocol records is routine in this case, resulting in total failure of media to cover the case. The protocol record also bears a fake “True Copy of the original” stamp.
Most of the hearings in this case were conducted in open court. However, the judges routinely place a false watermark “Closed Doors” on the hearings protocols. As a result, none of the case is reported by Israeli media, except for slanted reports, planted by the Prosecution. For example, on October 15, and amended indictment was filed, adding scores of new indictment articles. A perverted copy of the amended indictment was released to media. Media reported the new charges. [iv]
Figure. State of Israel v Shem-Tov et al ( 17-04-14615) in the Tel-Aviv District Court - “Attorney General’s Consent for Filing the Indictment” from the original indictment. The section was deleted from the perverted records of both the original indictment and the amended indictment that were released to media.
However, the perverted copy of the amended indictment, which was released to media, deleted, as was the case in the original indictment record, the special “Consent by the Attorney General for Filing an Indictment”. Such consent was required by Israeli law, since the indictment used extreme articles of the Penal Code, akin to incitement. For some reason, the Attorney General and the Prosecution appear uninterested that his direct involvement in this indictment to be published…
Of note, media report of the amended indictment falsely stated, “all hearings in this case are conducted behind closed doors” - apparently an excuse for failing to report any of this extremely abusive case.
Perversion of court process and court records in the prosecution of whistle-blowers and protest activists has been repeatedly documented in recent years. Of note, Israeli social protest is now primarily directed against corruption of the justice and law enforcement system itself. [v]
It is already clear that the issue of admissibility of evidence in the bloggers’ case, which was obtained through US DHS, is going to become a key issue. [vi] Such evidence pertains to IP addresses, administrative codes, and ownership of blogs maintained by Wordpress.
i 2017-10-04 Israel: The bloggers and the vengeful judges | OpEdNews.com
ii 2017-07-01 Widespread corruption of the Israeli courts alleged in reports filed with UN Human Rights Council | OpEdNews.com
iii 2014-09-29 ISRAEL: Attorneys from a non-existent law-firm appeared as Public Defenders for whistle-blower Rafi Rotem… | OpEdNews.com
iv 2017-10-25 Indictment: Shem-Tov exposed the names of complainants in sex crimes |News1
The amended indictment against Lori Shem-Tov, Moti Leybel and Zvi Zer also includes charges of contempt of the court and violation of the privacy of six family court judges
v 2017-05-21 Police Violence, Closed Doors Hearings in Israeli Protest Against Corrupt AG (Videos) | OpEdNews.com
2017-05-11 Israeli Supreme Court Justice Uri Shoham fakes an arrest warrant on whistle-blower Shuki Mishol | OpEdNews.com
2017-05-05 Court observers scuttle Israeli judge's attempt to hold a closed doors hearing in protesters' criminal prosecution | OpEdNews.com
2017-03-18 [Video] The remedy for Israeli judicial corruption is repression of social protest | OpEdNews.com
2015-06-08 Explosive corruption of the Israeli justice system is cured by gag orders… | OpEdNews.com
vi 16-06-20 US DHS assists in suppression of anti-corruption dissent in Israel | OpEdNews.com