Thursday, April 19, 2012

Waiting for the verdict

This rough sketch and the writing below it was my effort to stay awake during two hours sitting in court. I tried to concentrate and listen for words that I knew but this became somewhat hypnotizing. I very much wanted to fall asleep. It did not help that I could not drink coffee that morning for fear of  having to need the toilet in the middle of the trial.


This is a rough unartistic sketch of the police officer guarding the prisioners. I could not get the perspective to include them.


CAGES

Two men before me are in a cage. Vertical bars go from the chest-high horizontal rail to the floor. There are eight inches between each bar. It keeps two grown men contained- with the help of two watchful police officers and at least five others standing in the aisle.

But this cage would not contain a toddler boy. Twenty-five years ago Ibrahim would have squeezed through the bar giggling and squirming in the blink of an eye.

The cage would not contain the rabbits in my garden at home. They would see it as an open invitation to leap out and eat my lettuce.

But two men are contained. They stand and wait for the discussion and arguments to finish and the verdict to come down. Will they escape from this chest-high cage to enter another much larger one that will be home for years, or their whole life? Or will the accusation of police- murder in the midst of demonstration be lifted and they will be able to go back to a barless home with loved ones?



Seven months ago Ibrahim Kaka Hama was arrested on the charge of inciting his acquaintance Bilal to shoot a police officer during the demonstrations last year. He is from the city of Halabja where some demonstrations took place.


CPT Iraq has followed his trial. After his arrest, he and his family were afraid that there would be a secret trial after which he would be put away secretly. As the weeks went on it became apparent that this would not be so, that he would have a public trial. However, the trail dragged on and on. For the most part we did not know what was being said during the trial sessions. They were in Kurdish and of course verbal communication during the trial was forbidden. So, after each session a couple of friends would inform us of the events of the day. One of these people, Nasik, was one of the leaders of the demonstrations in Sulaimani. She has been supporting families of people who had been killed, injured or accused during the time of the 2011 demonstrations.  She expressed her frustration with the process. Often the lawyers were not prepared, or the witnesses' testimony was based entirely on hear-say. We heard from various sources that they felt he was set-up to prove political points. A lawyer friend had read all the documentation and felt there was not doubt that Ibrahim was innocent.


Last week, the media announced that today 19 April would be the last trial date. Rumors flew that there was not any evidence to convict Ibrahim and that he would be released. Many people lined the hallway of the courthouse to witness this event. However, the judge was not able to be there. He had been pulled away for a more pressing case. So, back Ibrahim goes to the prison to wait for another week. Hopefully then the long wait will be over.

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