District Court: Ettinger not allowed furlough for son’s brit milah

Sunday, April 3, 2016, 12:10 On Sunday, April 3, Be’er Sheva District Court Judge Yisrael Pablo Axelrod rejected the petition filed by Honenu Attorney Sima Kochav on behalf of administrative detainee Meir Ettinger and ruled that he will not be permitted to participate in his son’s brit milah, which is expected to take place the following day. Judge Axelrod ruled that Ettinger poses a danger to the public. The ISA and the Prison Service opposed allowing Ettinger furlough to attend his firstborn son’s brit milah, even with the accompaniment of prison guards, which is an accepted practice even for prisoners convicted of serious crimes, including prisoners convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In contrast, Ettinger is being held in administrative detention, has not been indicted and there is no evidence against him. The Prison Service suggested that the brit milah be held at the prison. Honenu intends to file an appeal on the decision with the Supreme Court of Israel demanding that Ettinger be allowed leave to participate in the brit milah. Honenu Attorney Sima Kochav, who is representing Meir Ettinger, said in response to the ruling that, “We are disappointed by the decision. The feeling we get is that the persons responsible for granting the authorization for the furlough did not act with integrity and are persecuting Meir Ettinger. It is important to stress that Ettinger is an administrative detainee and not a criminal prisoner. Dangerous criminal prisoners are allowed furloughs and Meir Ettinger is being held behind bars, without being indicted, only because of his opinions, and not because of any specific danger he poses. Therefore there is no cause to prevent his going on furlough for the brit milah.” In Jerusalem, on the evening of Saturday, April 2, after Shabbat, approximately 30 relatives of Meir Ettinger demonstrated at the String Bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem in protest of his administrative detention. The protesters called on the authorities to allow Ettinger participate in the brit milah of his firstborn son, which is expected to take place on Monday, April 4. Ettinger has been under administrative detention since early August 2015 and has been held in solitary since October 7, 2015. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed the order for the administrative detention, which was authorized on September 20, 2015 by the Lod District Court. At the end of the first period of administrative detention, following the recommendation of the Jewish Department of the ISA, Yaalon signed a new four-month order extending the administrative detention. On February 23, 2016 Central District Court Judge Avraham Tal approved the order. Ettinger is being held in solitary in a separate wing and is permitted to speak by telephone to only some of his closest relatives. On January 18 Ettinger went on a 17-day hunger strike in protest of his remand conditions.

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