|Pinner, 38, has been in Ramle's Maasiyahu Prison since June 2005, and can therefore be expected to be released six and a half months from now, if he receives one-third off for "good behavior." He has not been allowed to leave jail even one time since his incarceration - except for trips to the Be'er Sheva District Court.
Pinner was arrested on June 22 for allegedly firing at and injuring an Arab "with intent to cause harm" on the Gush Katif beach. Arab witnesses later admitted in court that they were part of a group throwing rocks at Pinner.
An unmarried licensed electrician, Pinner was in Gush Katif at the time to volunteer his services in the refurbishing of the Palm Beach Hotel for new families. He was taking a walk on the beach when "about 50 Arabs throwing rocks attacked me," he said. "I was carrying an Uzi, so I shot in the air. After a few yards they began throwing rocks again, so I fired several more shots in the air. The Arabs then backed off, and I went back to the hotel. Four days later I was arrested at home, with the police claiming that I had shot one of the Arabs and wounded him. First they said in the chest, later it turned out that there was an Arab who claimed to have been shot in the leg..."
Pinner said that his life was "clearly in danger."
Though no proof was brought that the Arab had been shot by Pinner, the accused remained in prison "until the end of the proceedings" for seven months until his conviction. No judge in Israel was willing to release him even to a form of house arrest, including Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Rivlin, who ruled on the case in late December. "It looked at first like he saw through the whole story [and would release him to house arrest]," Pinner's lawyer Baruch Ben-Yosef said, "but in the end, the usual happened... [The judge] said that the case is almost over, and things like that."
Ben-Yosef said earlier today that he hoped the sentence would not be more than two years, but was not confident; the Prosecutor had asked for a seven-year sentence.
Shlomo Wollins of IsraelReporter.com, who was in the courtroom for sentencing, told IsraelNationalRadio's Yishai and Malkah Fleisher that Pinner is in "very good spirits." Wollins said that Pinner is even happy to have "studied more Torah over the past eight months than during the eight years before that."
Daniel Pinner said he would appreciate messages from supporters via voicemail at
03-906-8079 (+972-3-906-8079 from outside Israel), or by regular mail at: Daniel Pinner, Maasiyahu Prison, POB 13, 72100.
MIM:Report from the Beersheva court on Daniel Pinner's sentencing
Today, Thurs. 23 Adar/March 23, was Daniel's
sentencing hearing. I took a day off of work and
traveled from my home in Jerusalem to the Beersheba
District Court for the hearing. The following are my
impressions and observations of what took place,
described in a newsy kind of style, and I invite all
those who were also there to submit their own thoughts
as well as any additions/subtractions/corrections to
my e-mail that they wish.
The courtroom was filled with Daniel's friends and
family members. When Daniel was brought into the
courtroom, we stood up and cheered him. Sari
Ashkenazi, Daniel's neighbor in Kfar Tapuach,
testified as a character witness to Daniel's good
midot including his generosity, his concern for the
environment and to relieve suffering of both people
and animals, and the fact that he never hesitates to
help people in need. I'm sure that every one present
in that courtroom could have added their own opinions,
too, but Sari was the only character witness called
upon to testify.
Judge Rachel Barkai pointed out several times to
Daniel's lawyer, Baruch Ben-Yosef, that the court
secretary received a barrage of mailed and faxed
letters of support and appeals for clemency for Daniel
from people in Israel, the United States, England and
other places (I was told yesterday that hundreds of
letters were e-mailed to [email protected] [the
organizers of a letter-writing campaign - more on that
further on] in Tapuach and that people were kept
extremely busy there faxing them to the judge). She
told Baruch in Hebrew: אנחנו לא יכולים להתייחס
למכתבים האלה. For those who don't know Hebrew, roughly
translated it means: We can't relate to/deal with/be
bothered with these letters. I read some of these
letters during the hearing, and my impression is that
the Her Honor had to be surprised and at least a bit
non-plussed at this tremendous show of support for
Daniel from so many good Jews from all walks of life.
We can only hope and pray that the letters, even
though Judge Barkai gave the impression that she
wouldn't be reading them, will have some kind of
influence, direct or indirect, on her final decision
re Daniel's sentence.
On the subject of the letters: I was very heartened by
the number of letters in support of Daniel, after an
appeal I made last Shabbat at the Tapuach Shabbaton
and after the e-mail campaign sent out to many lists
by the Committee for the Freedom of Daniel Pinner. I
would like to take this opportunity to thank, from the
bottom of my heart and on Daniel's behalf, all of
those many, many supporters and holy Jews who took the
time out of their busy lives to do this huge mitzva of
"pidyon shevuim" to write and send letters to the
Next came the summation by the prosecution. She stated
that Daniel's "crime" should be dealt with to the
fullest extent of the law due to its seriousness. She
pointed out that he was carrying a weapon in an
unauthorized location, and said that he deliberately
shot the Arab and afterwards simply went home, instead
of trying to run away when the Arabs started throwing
rocks at him. She recommended 7 years' imprisonment.
Baruch Ben-Yosef, Daniel's lawyer, spoke twice as long
as the prosecutor in his summation, pointing out that
whether Daniel was right or wrong to bring his weapon
or fire it, his life was in immediate danger and that
he had no time to consider all the options. Baruch
brought up several past cases where the defendant was
charged with far more serious crimes and received far
less severe punishment (Daniel has already been jailed
for more than nine months, as of this writing).
Next Daniel himself spoke, and in his characteristic
humility, expressing remorse and sorrow that the Arab
was hurt, and that he is glad that the latter
recovered and is able to get on with his life. He
stated that he did not intend to hurt anyone, and
reiterated his claim of self-defense.
At that point - contrary to everyone's expectations of
sentencing at today's hearing - Judge Barkai asked
both the prosecution and the defense lawyers what date
would be convenient to schedule the final sentence
hearing. The date of 6 Nissan/April 4 at 1 pm was
fixed for the final sentencing, and we'll all once
again be headed for Beersheba on that date.
As Daniel was being led out of the courtroom, he asked
people to ask themselves what they did today to hasten
the Geula Shlema, the Final Redemption of the Jewish
People (this is also part of Daniel's outgoing message
- in Hebrew - that callers to his home phone number
FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR DANIEL PINNER!