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Colonial Cases

Attorney General v. Hamdan and others, 1932

[murder - sedition]

Attorney General v. Hamdan and others

District Court, Jerusalem
Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 9 December 1932




Attorney General v. Hamdan and 12 others.


Before T. H. Judges de Freitas, Majid Abdel Hadi, and Senior magistrate Barady sitting as a member of the Court.

11 of the Accused Convicted

"Little Less Than Savages"

   Sentence was passed by the Court on 11 of the accused, ten of whom were sent to prison for 2 years and one for 3 years.  The Court varied the charge from under under 174 (1) of the Ottoman Penal Code (murder without premeditation) to one under the Criminal Law, Seditious Offences Ordinance, 1929.

   The case arose out of a quarrel which took place last July in the village of Qoba, near Ramallah.  During the quarrel 5 persons were killed and others injured.  On the day of this quarrel, the cause of which could not be ascertained, members of both factions threw stones at their opponents from their roofs.  When the stones were found not drastic enough firearms were resorted to by some.

   In passing sentence, His Honour the President said, that as the court could not connect any of the accused with any direct act which resulted in death or injury, they intended to change the section of the law under which the charge was based.  They therefore, amended the information from that of murder without premeditation to that of taking part in a riot contrary to Section 26 of the Criminal Law Seditious Offences ordinance, and under this Section convicted all the accused.   In addition to this, the Court also convicted the first accused under Section 34 of the Ordinance which is to the effect that any person who carries in public without lawful occasion any offensive arm or weapon in such a manner as to cause terror to any person, is liable to imprisonment for three years.

Stern Rebuke From The Bench

   Addressing the prisoners, His Honour administered a severe rebuke.  Their conduct, said the President, showed that the accused were little less than savages.  They had absolutely no self-control, although they were awfully vain and considered themselves fine fellows.  It was amazing to find two of the accused who were old men and ought to have known better not being able to keep out of a row like this.  Under the circumstances, therefore, the Court felt compelled to pass the maximum sentence, which was, however, judiciously small.  He wished the Court could pass a heavier sentence in this case.

   The Junior Government Advocate, Fawzi Edd. Ghussein, represented the Attorney General; Abcarius Bey, Mr. Goitein, Mr. Cattan, and Omar Eff. Saleh el Sarughti for the defence.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School