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Detainee released, Judge Priess: It is difficult for me to fathom the prosecution’s opinion

Tuesday, February 5, 9:36 Despite an issued indictment, the K’far Saba Magistrate Court released the youth detained at the disturbances in Yitzhar on Shabbat. Honenu attorney Adi Kedar states: “Even the court was astonished by the strange indictment.” On Shabbat (Saturday), February 2 disturbances developed at the intersection between the main road and the entry road to Yitzhar (Yitzhar Junction) after left-wing activists and Arabs from the village of Burin constructed an outpost near the Sneh Ya’akov hilltop adjacent to the community of Har Bracha. Burin, located between Yitzhar Junction and Sneh Ya’akov serves as a point of departure for Arabs from the village and left-wing activists who harass and try to clash with the residents of Sneh Ya’akov. The outpost constructed by the Arabs and the left-wing activists included several wooden structures and tents put up several hundred meters from Sneh Ya’akov. According the residents of Sneh Ya’akov the army initially refrained from interfering, claiming that they had no authority to operate inside the outpost because it is in an area under Arab control. It should be noted that terrorists have infiltrated into Sneh Ya’akov with the intent to cause bodily injury, which has been prevented only by a miracle and the alertness of the residents. Additionally the hilltop community suffers from recurring harassment by the residents of Burin and left-wing activists in the form of crowds threateningly approaching the hilltop, frequently throwing rocks and attacking. The crowds usually take advantage of the fact that on Shabbat it is more difficult for the residents of Sneh Ya’akov to defend themselves. In an act of mutual support dozens of Yitzhar and Havat Gilad residents went out to the Yitzhar Junction and blocked the road to Arabs. A clash developed on the scene between the residents of Yitzhar/Havat Gilad and Burin, during which a Yitzhar resident was moderately injured in the head by a rock. The injured man was evacuated to hospital where he underwent an operation to mend a facial fracture. In a thank-you letter to the residents of Yitzhar and Havat Gilad publicized by the residents of Sneh Ya’akov, they wrote that from the moment that the Yitzhar/Havat Gilad residents arrived at Yitzhar Junction the army, which until then had refrained from interfering, began to act with determination against the residents of the Arab/left-wing outpost, driving them back into the village of Burin. The army also destroyed the structures in the outpost. During the clash police detained an 18.5-year-old Yitzhar resident, claiming that he had participated in the disturbances. Additionally the police claimed that near the detainee two saws were found. The youth was detained and taken to the Ariel Police Station on Shabbat where he refused to cooperate with the investigators because he did not want to violate the Sabbath. At the request of his attorney, Adi Kedar of Honenu, the youth was interrogated on the morning of Sunday, February 3 and gave his version of the events. At 13:00 on Sunday he was brought to the K’far Saba Magistrate Court where the the Attorney General’s office issued an indictment against him for participation in the clash and possessing a knife. According to the representative of the Attorney General’s office, the matter at hand is a most serious instance of a disturbance for which the State of Israel will press charges and demand an active prison term. At this stage the Attorney General’s office has demanded remand until the end of proceedings or an alternative which includes most severe restrictions. Judge Amit Priess criticized the claims of the Attorney General’s office, rejected its demands and released the defendant. According to the defendant, Judge Priess rejected the accusation of knife possession and wrote that the only misdemeanor that possibly was carried out was participation in an illegal gathering bordering on rioting. “It is difficult for me to fathom the opinion of the prosecution concerning the danger stemming from the actions of the defendant,” wrote the judge and added that the defendant did not harm or intend to harm anyone or any property. In light of this the judge rejected the claim made by the Attorney General’s office and ruled that the defendant will remain within the boundaries of Yitzhar, in which he lives and studies, and may freely travel outside of the areas of Yehuda and Shomron. Additionally the defendant signed on bail. Honenu welcomes the release of the defendant. His representative, Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, said in response that, “Even the court expressed astonishment at the strange indictment – which has no legal precedent – issued on possession of a knife, the possession of which is not forbidden by law. It seems that the vague accusation of the misdemeanor of rioting was included in order to cover for the superfluous detention and I am pleased that the K’far Saba Magistrate Court rejected the demands of the Attorney General’s office of remand until the end of proceedings or a substitute with severe restrictions.”

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