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All 4 Lavi soldiers released from remand, confined to base

Monday, July 21, 2014, 13:42 The four Lavi battalion soldiers detained on Monday, July 7 following a complaint from an Arab resident of East Jerusalem that they beat him as he was riding his motorcycle in the area of Halhul, north of Hevron, and caused damage to his motorcycle were released from military prison on Sunday, July 20. The military prosecution filed a plaintiff’s affidavit against the four soldiers, however the military court ordered their release to their base, to which they are confined, and ruled that the evidence against them is weak and flawed. Despite the ruling the Military Advocate General’s office intends to file an indictment against all of them on Tuesday, July 22. During one of the deliberations on the case a possibility arose that the Arab complainant was riding a stolen motorcycle. The testimony of the complainant was most problematic and full of contradictions. Following a request by Chai Haber, the attorney representing the soldiers on behalf of Honenu, the military police clarified the matter and discovered that the complainant does not have insurance for the motorcycle, which increases the suspicion that he falsely accused the soldiers in order to receive compensation for the damage caused to the motorcycle. The four soldiers denied all connection to the incident. They stated that they were guarding the tent set up at the Karmi Tzur Junction in memory of the three youths kidnapped in Gush Etzion and then they returned to their base without passing the Halhul intersection, the site at which the complainant claimed that the incident occurred. There were no witnesses to the incident itself and it was not documented on film, which increases the suspicion of a false complaint. The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) is basing their decision on the fact that the soldiers were in the area of the incident at the time the complainant claimed that it occurred and that one of the soldiers is red-headed. The complainant claimed that one of the soldiers who assaulted him was red-headed. However Honenu notes that the CID carried out a series of investigatory failures and that the soldiers were not identified by the complainant in a police line-up Attorney Chai Haber, who is representing the soldiers on behalf of Honenu, stated in response,” As the investigation progresses the situation is more and more disappointing. The remand of the soldiers continues even though all of the evidence indicates that after the complainant was involved in a traffic accident without having insurance he fabricated a complaint against the soldiers in order to be granted compensation money from the army. I hope that someone in the Military Advocate General’s office understands that the complaint is baseless and will put a stop to this shameful conduct.” Honenu stated, “The situation in which four exemplary IDF soldiers find themselves detained for such a prolonged period of time only because of an unclear complaint by an Arab is outrageous. It is sad to see that the IDF rushes to prosecute soldiers, due only to distorted morality and fear of left-wing organizations and international antisemitic organizations.”

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