Kfar Duma trial, defense phase

Updated: Jan 24


Kfar Duma graffiti; Photo credit: Flash 90

“We will prove Ben Uliel’s innocence” Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 9:10 The defense phase of the Kfar Duma trial is scheduled for the morning of Wednesday, June 26, at the Central District Court in Lod. Amiram Ben Uliel’s attorneys, Asher Ohayon and Yitzchak Bam, are expected to present evidence to the judges which in their opinion will exonerate Ben Uliel. A relative of Ben Uliel stated, “After all of the confessions of the minor were invalidated, after the court ruled that Ben Uliel was tortured and invalidated some of his statements, and after the Attorney General’s office retracted other indictments in the case following the revelation that the confessions were extracted from the defendants under unreasonable and illegal pressure, now the phase has come in which the defense will tell the court and the Israeli public what actually happened in Duma. Amiram is innocent. We will prove his innocence. That is what you will see in the upcoming deliberations.” Ben Uliel refused to testify Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 10:22 The defense phase of the Kfar Duma trial began on the morning of Wednesday, June 26, with the refusal of the defendant, Amiram Ben Uliel, to testify. Attorney Asher Ohayon, who is representing Ben Uliel, stated in his name to the court, “The decision not to testify is an expression of the feeling of injustice done to Ben Uliel during the trial within a trial when the court invalidated only part of his confessions, despite the torture which had preceded them.” Ben Uliel’s mother-in-law also testified as a witness for the defense. Ben Uliel’s wife testified Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 11:02 Orian Ben Uliel, Amiram’s wife, testified that her husband was with her all night at their home: “We were living in a one-room truck, at the edge of Adei Ad, in a place far from neighbors. We had a baby. He [Amiram] always came home at about 23:00. He would not have left me alone. “That night we went to sleep at about one. At five in the morning I was already supposed to meet friends at the spring. Therefore I remember well the times of that night. We slept together at home. “At four I woke up and noticed the time. At five I woke up and left. Also between one and four I remember, I am almost 100% sure, that I woke up again to breastfeed. Our baby only breastfed. We did not have Materna [baby formula]. Every night she breastfed at those hours,” added Orian. Orian continued, “Amiram was at home all night. There was no way that he wasn’t and I didn’t notice. I would have seen if he wasn’t at home. The door to the truck made a loud rasping sound. When it was opened it made a horrible noise. If he had left I would have definitely woken up. “At five I left to meet the girls. Amiram was at home with the baby. At seven I returned home to the truck. Amiram was at home. In the morning we started to get ready for Shabbat.” (See here for a November 2018 interview with Orian Ben Uliel.) Expert opinions: Graffiti not Ben Uliel’s handwriting I Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 12:23 In the framework of the defense phase, Attorney Asher Ohayon announced that in the coming days he will submit opinions from expert graphologists who determined that the graffiti found at the arson incident in Kfar Duma does not match Amiram Ben Uliel’s handwriting. The indictment states that Ben Uliel was alone in Kfar Duma and wrote graffiti in two places near the scene of the crime. Expert opinions: Graffiti not Ben Uliel’s handwriting I Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 12:23 In the framework of the defense phase, Attorney Asher Ohayon announced that in the coming days he will submit opinions from expert graphologists who determined that the graffiti found at the arson incident in Kfar Duma does not match Amiram Ben Uliel’s handwriting. The indictment states that Ben Uliel was alone in Kfar Duma and wrote graffiti in two places near the scene of the crime. Expert opinions: Graffiti not Ben Uliel’s handwriting II Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 13:44 Attorney Asher Ohayon related to the fact that Ben Uliel relinquished his right to testify, despite Ohayon’s urging: “Amiram testified at length in court during the first round, about everything connected to the circumstances under which confessions were extracted from him. Because of the torture under which the confessions were extracted from him, the court ruled that invalid, unusual means had been applied to him, that have never been used on other defendants to this day. “Despite this, the court saw fit to invalidate only some of the confessions. Amiram feels that a very serious injustice has been done to him. It is inconceivable that someone could undergo torture for over three weeks and in the end the court will rule that he gave confessions out of his own volition.” Attorney Ohayon added, “Amiram told me, ‘After I underwent what I underwent, despite everything, the court ruled that some of the confessions were given out of my own volition. What point is there for me to continue and to return to speak in front of the court?’” Furthermore, Attorney Ohayon mentioned the graffiti found at the scene of the crime in Kfar Duma: “Concerning the graffiti, it should have been the first evidence presented to the court. At the scene there are two styles of handwriting, and a lot of writing. The presumption is that someone who writes things like this in the middle of the night, does so in a very spontaneous manner and in the quickest way, in order to write and leave. Therefore one may assume that the handwriting is very authentic, and that the ‘fingerprints’ of the writer have been left in the writing. “The presumption was that the State would bring this evidence first, because it is the only objective evidence. This was not done, and therefore we were forced to perform the task. Investigation of the truth must be important in the eyes of the State no less than in the eyes of the defendants. It is not at all surprising that the results [of the handwriting analysis] show that there are two styles of handwriting, neither of which is that of Ben Uliel, at a degree of absolute certainty. One must consider that others may have written this graffiti, and perhaps they are not Jews. Who knows?”

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