Appeal Against Bereaved Father's Sentence

Criminal Appeal Permission 968/03, Abdel Menem Abu Saleh v. the State of Israel, unpublished decision.

In 3/01, at one of the opening hearings of the Or Commission of Inquiry (appointed by the government to investigate the causes and results of the October 2000 protest demonstrations, which included the killing of 13 Arab citizens of Israel by the police), Mr. Abdel Menem Abu Saleh struck Police Sergeant Guy Raif after hearing surprise evidence that the latter had been involved in the killing of his son, Walid Abdel Menem Abu Saleh. Mr. Abu Saleh was subsequently indicted for assault. In 11/01, Adalah submitted a motion to the AG requesting the dismissal of the indictment, arguing that Mr. Abu Saleh attacked Sgt. Raif on impulse, without premeditation; that the case was exceptional, in that Mr. Abu Saleh had not been warned that evidence would be presented suggesting that Sgt. Raif had fired live rounds at his son; and that it was grievously unjust that there had been no criminal investigation into Sgt. Raif’s conduct during the events of October 2000, while the father of one of the victims in those events was indicted. The AG rejected the motion. Adalah represented Mr. Abu Saleh at trial and he was convicted in 5/02. In 7/02, he was sentenced to two months of community service. The state appealed the sentence to the District Court in 12/02, seeking a six-month community service term. The District Court granted the state’s appeal.

Result: In 1/03, Adalah filed a motion to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against the District Court’s erroneous decision to increase Mr. Abu Saleh’s sentence. One of the main legal arguments raised by Adalah was that despite the fact that an appeal by the state had already been heard in the case, Mr. Abu Saleh had not yet exercised his right of appeal, and thus, the Supreme Court should hear it. This fundamental due process right of appeal, Adalah argued, is also a “constitutional right,” and follows from the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty (1992), as well as Supreme Court precedent. The Supreme Court rejected the motion. In its decision, issued in 1/03, the Court did not address the issue of Mr. Abu Saleh’s constitutional right of appeal and ignored the special circumstances of the case, contending that he had been given an adequate opportunity to present his arguments at hearings before the lower courts.

(Criminal Appeal Permission 968/03, Abdel Menem Abu Saleh v. the State of Israel, unpublished decision.)