Striking attorneys disrupt court proceedings

Thursday, May 18, 2017, 8:07 Simultaneous to the terrorists’ hunger-strike, their attorneys are striking. On Thursday, May 18, while accompanying terror victims to court, Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher discovered that the hunger-striking terrorists’ attorneys have been on strike for a few weeks in solidarity with their clients. The strike, which has taken place for a few weeks, off and on, at various military courts, is disrupting their functioning. Many deliberations have been postponed. The striking attorneys are members of the Palestinian Bar Association and some of them are also members of the Israel Bar Association. They have not been appearing at scheduled court deliberations and have not filed formal requests with the court to postpone the deliberations. They have publicly declared that they are striking in solidarity with the hunger-striking security prisoners. Due to the strike many deliberations have been postponed, many witnesses for the prosecution, including terror victims who arrived in court to give testimony, have been forced to postpone giving their testimony. To the best of our knowledge, so far the judges have not begun any proceedings against the striking attorneys, have not imposed payment of legal expenses on them, have not fired any of them, have not appointed court attorneys in their stead, and have not held deliberations in their absence. “The situation in which the defense attorneys of the [hunger-striking] terrorists are striking has brought about a situation in which trials have been postponed during which crime victims were expected to testify, both individuals who were injured and individuals who were the victims of attempted murder,” stated Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher. “This is a serious insult to the crime victims. The trials of their assailants, of terrorists, have been postponed without a genuine reason and they are not being penalized. Furthermore, it is an insult to the court that attorneys who identify with terrorists are running the courts. Through their empathy with terrorists and lawbreakers they are openly disrupting the entire workings of the courts,” added Bleicher. Bleicher also warned about the ramifications of the strike to Israeli citizens: “Additionally, after the strike there will be a large backlog of cases in court and pressure on the prosecution, which will result in plea bargains and compromises, which will in turn cause leniencies in penalties, which will reduce deterrence against terror. It will also bring about the early release of terrorists and damage the security of Israeli citizens. It is important to deal with the strike with all available means, such as sanctions against the attorneys and court-appointed defense attorneys. This will put a stop to attorneys who identify with terrorists running the courts.” Honenu: “The absurdity of attorneys backing and supporting terror is astounding. Attorneys, who are obligated to ethics and standards of their profession, must not be allowed to so severely disrupt the trials of terrorists. The striking attorneys must be dealt with forcibly, their licenses to practice law must be revoked, and they must be required to pay legal expenses. We intend to involve the Israel Bar Association and others in the matter.”

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