PNN – Palestine News Network – Prison Destroyed His Dreams: Ma’moun Dar Issa, Victim of Three Dark Years

20.10.10 – 11:20

Maysa Abu Ghazala – Jerusalem – PNN/Exclusive – “For three years, it destroyed my dreams,” said Ma’moun Dar Issa of al-Khader, near Bethlehem. “I was getting ready to go to my wedding party. I had just completed my vocational education.”
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Ma’moun was 25 years old and about to be married, having just completed school, when he was arrested and accused of injuring a Jewish woman and stealing her car. He endured cruel interrogation in Etzion, as well as torture, assault, and weeks of isolation. For three years in Hadarim prison he only knew the charges against him, but no evidence ever came forward.
In an interview, Ma’moun said he denied the charges from the start, saying they had nothing to do with him. Nevertheless he was sentenced by a military court to 60 months in prison and a fine of 16,000 NIS.
He also said his eight brothers were targeted for interrogations by a man named “David,” who came to their houses, assaulted them, and held them for days before releasing them. One brother, named Ayad, was held for three months without charge.
“The Israeli forces raided our land, which is close to the checkpoint,” said Ma’moun. “They beat [my brothers] and confiscated metal items, water containers, chairs, and construction tools.”
“They arrested me without a warrant,” he claims. “The days after I was captured were difficult. I wasn’t fed well, I was neglected and forbidden from the most basic human needs. I was living in a small room and I didn’t see any light. Even my mother was not allowed to visit.”
Rami Uthman, Ma’moun’s lawyer, was able to win his acquittal of the assault and robbery charges from Ofer military court. He was released on August 22, 2010.
“The decision was made on judicial precedent,” said Uthman. “I presented an appeal to the Ofer military court charging false arrest, because the police presented their report based on tricks and hearsay about my client.”
“I appealed to a court composed of three judges and convinced them of the lack of evidence,” he continued. “It emerged that a policeman gave a picture of my client to the woman before she entered the courtroom and only then did she identify him. Even so, she said she recognized him about 80%.” He added that police would often look for any evidence –even if it was weak—to condemn Palestinians.
Uthman said the police refused to compensate Ma’moun for the years he spent in prison.

PNN – Palestine News Network – Prison Destroyed His Dreams: Ma’moun Dar Issa, Victim of Three Dark Years.

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