Gaza: Public Military Trial for Arrigoni’s Alleged KillersOpinion – By Julie Webb-Pullman In Gaza
A Gaza Military Court presided over by Judge Abu Omar Atallah today opened public proceedings in the trial of four men accused in relation to the murder of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza City on 15 April this year.
Secure unit for the defendants.
Media and supporters in the public gallery.
Mohammed Salfi, 23, Hasanah Tarek, 25, and Khader Jram, 26, have been charged with kidnapping with intent to kill and premeditated murder, while Abu Ghoul, 25 was charged with hiding the alleged killers in his home.They are being tried in a military court as all were members of the Gaza security forces when they committed the alleged offences.
Today's proceedings took place in a small courtroom located within the Gaza military compound, containing a secure unit for the defendants. The taking of photographs and audio-recordings during the proceedings were banned.
The accused all appeared relaxed, healthy and well-fed, occasionally exchanging comments with their lawyers and waving and smiling at their families before proceedings began. The only sign of nerves was Khader Jram’s constant fingering of prayer beads throughout.
Several members of the Italian media were in attendance, along with volunteers from the International Solidarity Movement with which Arrigoni worked, Italian aid workers with local NGOs, Palestinian media, and family members of the accused.
The judge informed the court that all of the legal files and hearings would be available to the public, and declined the request from lawyers of the Palestine Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) to participate in the trial as representatives of the Arrigoni family, on the grounds that Gaza military law does not permit the participation of third parties.
Following requests for additional time from both the prosecution and the defence, to prepare witnesses and to review the evidence respectively, the judge adjourned the proceedings until Thursday 22 September.
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