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Attorney General’s office filed indictment, although evidence appears weak

Sunday, June 8, 2014, 14:36 On Sunday, June 8 the Attorney General’s office filed an indictment against an 18-year-old youth suspected of puncturing the tires of cars and spray-painting graffiti reading, “Coexistence = Assimilation” in the Arab town of Abu Ghosh approximately one year ago . The youth, who has been held for close to three weeks in a GSS detention center, ten days of which without meeting with an attorney, denied all charges under interrogation and maintained his right to remain silent. Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, who is representing the youth, severely criticized the conduct of the Attorney General’s office and of the police who instead of basing an indictment on evidence, rushed to hold press conferences. “I am absolutely certain that the truth will be revealed and the weakness of the evidence will bring about the immediate release of the defendant,” said Kedar. The youth’s remand has been extended until Thursday, June 12 in order to allow Kedar time to examine the material in the case. However Honenu is of the opinion that the Attorney General’s office and the police have decided on a new approach, according to which there is no need for evidence on which to base an indictment in a “Price Tag” case. An example is the recent case involving three youths suspected of involvement with a “Price Tag” incident in Gush Halav. Even though an indictment was filed against them the Natzrat District Court released them to house arrest while the the material of the case was examined in order to judge whether or not there was sufficient evidence to try them. “The indictment was filed only today, and contrary to what is customary the request for remand does not specify the quality of the evidence. To the best of our understanding, even before intensive study of the material, the evidence appears weak and it seems that a conviction cannot be based on it,” said Honenu attorney Adi Kedar in response to the indictment. “It appears that recently the Attorney General’s office has been waging a media campaign and using public opinion in order to influence the decisions of the court. I am absolutely certain that after we examine the material the truth will be revealed and the weakness of the evidence will bring about the immediate release of the defendant.” On Friday, June 6 a 20-year-old resident of Yitzhar held in remand for approximately a week and a half was released and at the last moment the Attorney General’s office decided not to file an indictment, despite the plaintiff’s affidavit that had been filed against him. The decision was received by the Attorney General’s office after the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court and the Lod District Court ruled that the evidence was weak. Honenu attorney Yossi Lin, who represented the released youth, said in response, “The decision of the Attorney General’s office not to file an indictment against my client proves that from the beginning the request to detain my client on the basis of the plaintiff’s affidavit, expecting that an indictment would be filed against him, and the request for remand until the end of proceedings was scandalous and done only out of public pressure and not on the basis of professional and legal considerations. Nonetheless, the Attorney General’s office did well to listen to the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court and the Lod District Court which ruled that there was insufficient evidence against my client and rejected the request for remand.” “It appears that the Attorney General’s office and the police have decided on a new approach according to which indictments may be filed even without evidence – in order to make headlines,” said a representative of Honenu, which is providing the detainees with legal counsel. “If only we saw such efforts in the treatment of Arab terror and arson attacks on synagogues. Apparently the public pressure on the issue of “Price Tag” incidents, alongside the need for the various police and GSS units [which are devoted to investigating suspected “Price Tag” incidents] to justify the huge budgets which have been invested in them, has caused some people to make unwise decisions.”

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