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Court canceled Ben Uliel’s petition

Honenu Attorney Chai Haber; Photo credit: Honenu

Honenu Attorney Chai Haber; Photo credit: Honenu

Thursday, February 27, 2020, 9:28 Central District Court Judge Ido Dorian-Gamliel canceled the prisoners’ petition filed by Amiram Ben Uliel, a defendant in the Kfar Duma case, opposing the intent of the Prison Service to transfer him from the Sharon Prison in central Israel to the Eshel Prison outside of Be’er Sheva in southern Israel. Also, Judge Dorian-Gamliel did not record the developments of the deliberation in the minutes as required. Orian, Ben Uliel’s wife, described the dialog between her husband and Judge Dorian-Gamliel: “At the request of the judge, Amiram rose to declare [the truth of the petition]. Amiram stood with his hand over his eyes and declared. The judge asked him to lower his hand and look at him. Amiram explained to the judge that he couldn’t, because there were women in the courtroom. The judge insisted so Amiram lowered his hand and declared with his eyes closed. The judge persisted with his request and then told Amiram that he was in contempt of the court. “Amiram explained to him that it [covering his eyes] was due to his religious beliefs and that he should not regard it as a lack of respect. Amiram also told him that he [the judge] was not respecting his [Amiram’s] religion and his faith, which requires him to guard his eyes. This also did not satisfy the judge, who continued to persist and then handed down his decision.” Orian leveled criticism at the decision: “For one reason only, because my husband kept his faith, the judge did not rule on my husband’s petition, which pertains to his rights. The judge trampled his rights and his beliefs. It is an embarrassment that this happened in the State of Israel.” Honenu Attorney Chai Haber, who represented Ben Uliel, stated that, “Even though I do not agree at all, at the legal level, with the decision of the honorable court, and despite the expectation that there will be a complete separation between a legal matter and the behavior of an individual, I can understand and respect the desire of the judge to express a grievance about anything that could be perceived as exclusion of women and/or any other population. “Despite that, all my client asked was to be allowed to fulfill his religious obligations and maintain his views. The petitioner did not request that the women leave or not be present, but rather asked to close his eyes so that he would not transgress his beliefs, according to his world view.” In closing, Honenu Attorney Chai Haber raised an important point regarding sensitivity to religious practices: “The population of Israel is varied, and for example there are among the populace women who cover their entire bodies except for their eyes. Why are they never asked to show their faces in court? In conclusion, as long as my client did not make a request pertaining to others, and as long as the matter concerns his faith, his request should have been respected, even if it presented a slight difficulty.”

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