Daharia incident: Court orders release of detainees

Friday, December 21, 12:26 Judge Kornhauser ordered the release of the three Daharia incident detainees to house arrest. The police request filed to delay carrying out the order until after Shabbat (Saturday night, December 22) was accepted. Honenu states that this is superfluous stubbornness and will appeal to the district court. One day after the surprising decision by the police to retract their decision to issue an indictment against the three detainees suspected of setting a vehicle on fire in Daharia, the Jerusalem Magistrate Court intensifies the turn of events. At the end of a deliberation on extending the remand Judge Eitan Kornhauser ordered the detainees released to only one week of house arrest in addition to posting a bond. Later Judge Kornhauser acquiesced to the police request and ordered a delay in carrying out the decision until after Shabbat (Saturday night, December 22). Two and a half weeks ago three youths, Yehiel Laks, Aharon Sadigorski and Ofer Kellerman, residents of the Har Hevron region, were detained on suspicion of setting a vehicle on fire in the village of Daharia near Hevron. The court has extended their remand for the purpose of conducting the investigation. On Tuesday, December 18 a plaintiff’s affidavit was filed at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court which signified the end of the investigation and that an indictment would soon been issued. In a surprising step on the following Thursday night the police announced that the indictment which they intended to issue on the morning of Friday, December 21 would be canceled and that they intend to demand a remand extension for the purpose of continuing the investigation. On Friday, December 21 the three detainees were brought before Judge Eitan Kornhauser at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court on a demand by the police to extend their remand by five days. According to the police an expert attorney added to the team working on the case advised that several more investigatory measures in the case were necessary. The attorneys of the detainees, Honenu attorneys Adi Kedar and Yehuda Shushan, pleaded that there have been no new developments and that the investigatory measures could have been accomplished by now. Judge Kornhauser accepted the pleas of Honenu’s attorneys and in a dramatic decision ordered the release of the detainees to house arrest for one week only. In addition to the house arrest the judge ruled that the detainees must each post bail of 3,000 NIS and sign an additional 10,000 NIS bond. The detainees are banned from contacting each other for a period of 30 days. In light of the surprising decision the police representative requested that carrying out the decision be delayed until after Shabbat. The judge acquiesced to the request. Honenu, which is representing the detainees, welcomes the decision to release them, and says that “The back-and-forth of the police and the attorney general’s office has raised a suspicion that something is not right and Judge Kornhauser did well to end the saga. We regret the insistence of the police and hope that by the end of today the story will be behind us.” Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, who filed an urgent appeal with the district court said that, “The pleas of the detainees’ representative were accepted in their entirety by the judge. The demand by the police is not compatible with a ruling previously made by the Supreme Court because there has been neither significant development in the case nor the need for the action demanded by the police. The police are trying improve their position in the case at the expense of the freedom of my clients.”

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