Monday, September, 7, 2020, 13:16 On Monday, September 7, the Central District Court in Lod rejected the new evidence in the Kfar Duma arson trial, ruling that the testimony of Ahmed Dawabshe is not reliable enough to exonerate Amiram Ben Uliel, and let the conviction stand. Later the same week the court will hand down a sentence in the case.
Ahmed Dawabshe, who was seriously injured in the arson attack and is the only eyewitness who was inside the house that was destroyed, recently revealed that he remembers the incident in detail and that he saw the arsonists. He described an incident which is factually different from that of which Amiram Ben Uliel was convicted. He was not interrogated after the incident and the investigating authorities have never examined his testimony which contradicts the version of events written in the bill of indictment.
In interviews in the Arabic-speaking media, which have been submitted to the court by agreement between the sides, Ahmed recounted that several arsonists, more than three, were involved with the incident and they entered the family’s house and clashed with family members. This version of events completely contradicts the evidence on the basis of which Ben Uliel was convicted of murder, according to which there was only one arsonist at the scene and he did not enter the house.
Honenu: “Today the court imprisoned an innocent man for life. The court did not have the courage to admit to its past mistakes, because if the court had spoken the truth, a battery of officials would have paid the price – the ones who tortured Amiram, the ones who authorized the torture. The court preferred to remain in its comfort zone and convict the ‘settler’, the ‘outsider’.
“The court chose to ignore testimony from the most objective person, the injured party himself – the testimony which should have led to an exoneration. The court chose to accept the testimony of torture. Such evilness will not be forgiven.”
Orian Ben Uliel: “The court decided to convict my husband at any price. Again the court closed its eyes to more evidence, to that of a child who experienced trauma, remembers that night, told about it out of his own volition, and everything he remembers contradicts the false confessions extracted from my husband. My husband has been convicted again of something he did not do. Our hearts are broken. Our faith in the system has been reduced to nothing. My daughter cries at night. My husband has sat in prison for years already, and I know that he did not do it. I testified on the subject and they are ignoring my testimonies. They are ignoring his testimonies about what happened. They are ignoring all of the testimonies and all of the contradictions – that [the graffiti] is not in my husband’s handwriting, that [the footprints at the site of the crime] are not his footprints, that there were several people there, that there was a car there. They are ignoring everything. My husband is paying the price for a crime because they are not willing to admit [to their mistakes]. So that those guilty of the injustice done to my husband will not have to pay, my husband is sitting in prison through no fault of his own.” Prior to the ruling, Ben Uliel sent a letter to the judges in the case requesting that they exonerate her husband in light of new evidence.
Attorneys Asher Ohayon and Yitzhak Bam, who represented Ben Uliel: “Amiram’s future was determined when the court accepted as evidence his confession that was extracted under torture and his reenactment of the arson that was done when he feared that the torture would resume. The court’s verdict evades the deliberation which revealed contradictions between the content of [Ben Uliel’s] confession and the testimonies concerning the number of arsonists and the descriptions given by eyewitnesses in real time. Now the Supreme Court will have to give an opinion on these two issues.”
Attorney Asher Ohayon added: “The decision is erroneous. We expect and hope that it will be overturned after an appeal. Part of the trial is over. However we have not yet finished. The decision to convict Amiram is fraught with irregularities and questions.”
Since the July 2015 arson attack on the Dawabshe family’s house in Kfar Duma, Honenu has assisted many Jews accused of involvement with the crime. For a selection of posts describing Honenu Attorneys’ representation of defendants and GSS interrogatees, see here. To familiarize our readers with the case, Honenu has gathered – see here – various articles and short videos on the subject.