THE TRIAL OF JEFF SEATH/SHMUEL ZETHAM: THE PROSECUTION'S DAY IN COURT

12 Kislev/Dec. 3: The session, which had been called for noon, didn’t start until approx. 1:25 p.m., when Judge Bracha Bar-Ziv entered the courtroom and Jeff was also led in at the same time. In spite of the discomfort of being cuffed around his wrists and ankles, Jeff was visibly moved and smiled when he saw that his supporters filled the courtroom.

The Judge opened the session by calling some of the supporters to order and threatened to send them out of the courtroom unless they kept quiet. The prosecutor also asked the Judge to tell one of the supporters who had photographed one of the witnesses, not to make use of the photo in any way, and the Judge agreed and informed the photographer accordingly.

The testimony of the two prosecution witnesses can be summed up in two sentences: “I don’t know” and “I don’t remember”. The first of the witnesses was Shaul Levine, a resident of Tapuach for the last three years. To the prosecutor, he admitted not having much of a connection with Jeff, not remembering when Jeff first came to Tapuach, not seeing him very often or talking to him all that much – at most, 4 or 5 conversations, and having been in Jeff’s home only once, during which Jeff had showed him the scopes for his rifle (but Levine doesn’t remember Jeff telling him where he got the scopes, or why he brought them). Levine said that Jeff told him he had tools in his lift, but does not remember him saying anything about bringing weapons for the army. He saw that Jeff had brought a protective mask and thought it strange, but not particularly unusual. He does remember that Jeff told him he’s a Zionist who wants to live in Eretz Israel.

The prosecutor pointed out that during his interrogation Jeff said he wanted to give the rifle, etc. to the army, and that Jeff accuses Levine of lying when he said Jeff didn’t tell him anything about donating to the army.

Jeff’s lawyer, Baruch Ben-Yosef, then questioned Levine by first asking how he viewed Jeff: mentally sound, etc., and whether he had trouble understanding Jeff’s strong southern accent (being that Levine is from New York). He reminded Levine that he told the police that Jeff seemed strange and noisy. When Baruch asked Levine whether he related to Jeff as a good friend, Levine answered no.

Levine’s testimony ended, the Judge reminded the court to reimburse him for his travel expenses to and from Tapuach.

The next witness for the prosecution was Anatoly Zeldin, who works for the absorption office at Ben-Gurion Airport. He speaks several languages, among them Spanish and a little Japanese. He described his job as taking the immigrant through the first stages of absorption after his arrival, explaining their rights to them and giving him documents such as teudat oleh, medical insurance, and a form to fill out from the Interior Ministry to obtain a teudat zehut.

When asked if he remembers Jeff, he turned around to look back at him and identified him. Zeldin described his conversation with Jeff at the airport as “regular”, nothing unusual. He also testified, when asked, that a representative from the American/Canadian Immigrant’s Association (AACI) was with Jeff, but no one else. Zeldin was also asked who picked up Jeff from the airport, and he remembered that he was picked up in an old van by two men in their 20’s or 30’s with knitted kipot.

When asked what Jeff told him during their conversation at the airport, he mentioned that Jeff pointed out Tapuach on a map to him since he didn’t know where it was, also that Jeff said he was a truck driver and hunter. The prosecutor recalled the police report in which Zeldin was asked whether Jeff spoke about weapons. Zeldin said Jeff didn’t mention anything about his intentions or plans and that he doesn’t remember Jeff mentioning anything about the army, or asking Zeldin questions about donating things to the army. When asked whether anything in the encounter with Jeff seemed unusual, he replied no.
The prosecutor referred again to the police report, in which Jeff claims he told Zeldin that he wanted to give something to the army, but Zeldin insisted he doesn’t remember Jeff saying such a thing.

The prosecutor asked him whether any other immigrant had ever mentioned to him that he has something for the army, and Zeldin replied no. When asked what he would have done if the immigrant had mentioned or inquired to him about bringing something to the army, Zeldin replied he would have told him to go to the Draft Board or the local military officer, not to him, as that’s not his job as an absorption clerk.

Baruch, in turn, pointed out to Zeldin that he told the police that Jeff was hard to understand because of his strong Southern accent. Baruch then asked Zeldin whether he remembered the AACI representative, Linda Wolf, who accompanied Jeff and translated for him, or any of the ensuing conversation. Zeldin replied that he doesn’t remember Wolf asking him any questions. Baruch claimed that the AACI representative (who has agreed to testify in Jeff’s defense) understood the conversation (and therefore Jeff) better than Zeldin, the prosecution witness.

Baruch informed Jeff in English that for the next court date, he would be giving his testimony, as well as two other witnesses (one of whom is the AACI rep, Linda Wolf).

Judge Bar-Ziv announced that the next court date is Wednesday December 27 (6 Tevet) at 12 noon - the Defense’s day in court, and adjourned the session for the day at approximately 2:15 p.m.

Taking this opportunity to remind anyone out there who still hasn't sent a letter to the Judge (see previous e-mails re the letter-writing campaign on Jeff's behalf) - NOW is the time! Please take a few minutes of your time NOW to write a letter - in English or Hebrew - to Judge Bracha Bar-Ziv of the Haifa District Court to give Jeff a lenient sentence!!

Fax it IMMEDIATELY to 03-9068478 or e-mail to: mishallyisrael@yahoo.com

Kol Tuv,
Dina

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