Detainees in vehicular arson case released

Friday, August 15, 2014, 17:11 The two youths detained on Monday, August 11 on suspicion of setting an Arab vehicle on fire were released to their homes during the afternoon hours of Friday, August 15 by the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. Attorney Ze’ev Wolf, who represented the detainees on behalf of Honenu stated that, “The police themselves understood that they would not be able to base a case on weak evidence and intuition.” The case started on Monday, August 11, with the detention of two minors 15 years of age, residents of Kiryat Sefer and Nachaliel. The youths were suspected of involvement with setting an Arab car on fire in the town of Beit Ilu approximately two weeks ago. On Tuesday, August 12 the police detained an additional youth 18 years of age in connection with the same crime. Interrogators from the Department of Nationalist Crime in the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police prohibited the detainees from meeting with an attorney for 24 hours from the time of their detention. During a deliberation which took place on Tuesday, August 12 attorney Avichai Hajbi, who is representing the detainees on behalf of Honenu, pointed to a string of problems with the interrogation. Contrary to the law the police did not invite the minors’ parents to the interrogation. One of the detainees said that the interrogators threatened him with various threats in order to persuade him to talk to them, even though he denied involvement with the incident. At the end of the deliberation Judge Miriam Ilany ordered the release of one of the minors to house arrest and ruled that, “The strength of the evidence is weak to the point of not justifying his detention.” The remand of the other minor was extended by three days. On Wednesday, August 13 a deliberation took place on the adult and the police requested that his remand be extended by five days. The court extended his remand by one day only. On Thursday, August 14 the police requested that the remand of the detainees be extended by five additional days, however Judge Keren Azoulai extended the remand of both the minor and the adult only until Friday, August 15, at which time the Jerusalem Magistrate Court released them to one week of house arrest. “Unfortunately in such cases the Israeli Police use draconian methods against suspects some of whom are minors, including banning them from meeting with an attorney,” said Honenu attorney Ze’ev Wolf, who is representing the youths. “The law states that as a rule suspects must be allowed to meet with an attorney and it is very unusual to ban such a meeting. The Israeli Police are turning a rarity into a commonplace occurrence when questioning Jews. The court, which during the past few days has criticized police conduct, significantly reduced the days of remand requested by the police to the point where the police understood that they could not base the case on weak evidence, intuition and unsubstantiated evidence against the youths. Therefore today the youths were released to their homes.”

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