District court rejects police appeal, arson suspects will be released

Thursday, May 30, 14:56 After the Jerusalem Magistrate Court ruled on Wednesday, May 29, to release four out of the five detainees suspected of setting an Arab field on fire in the Har Hevron region, the police appealed to the Jerusalem District Court on the decision. Judge Rivka Friedman-Feldman rejected the appeal stating that there is no basis for connecting the suspects to the act. There will be a deliberation on Friday, May 31 on Honenu’s appeal on the remand extension of the fifth detainee. The special unit founded by the Israeli Police, with the encouragement of the Prime Minister and other ministers, for dealing with “price tag” incidents, officially named the National Crime Unit, continues its list of failures. On Thursday, May 30, the Jerusalem District Court rejected the appeal filed by the police on the release of the four detainees detained on May 28 on suspicion of involvement with setting on fire a field belong to an Arab in the village of Zif near the community of Havat Ma’on. In her decision Judge Friedman-Feldman justified the magistrate court’s decision, according to which there is no basis to a connection between the youths and the arson. The youths will be released to a one-week house arrest. On May 28 IDF forces evacuated and demolished a house belonging to a young couple with a two-month old baby in Havat Ma’on. According to the police in response to the demolition Jews set on fire a field belonging to Arabs. Approximately two hours after the arson, police forces, who were stationed in the area in order to prevent injury to Arabs, stopped a car in which five Jewish youths were traveling on suspicion that they were involved with the arson. Despite the length of time which had passed since the arson the police announced that five suspects traveling in a car had been apprehended as they were fleeing the site. On May 29, the youths were brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate Court where the police demanded that their remand be extended by seven days. Judge Chen Avital rejected the demand and ruled that there was no basis to a connection between the youths and the arson. The judge ordered four out of the five detainees released and extended the remand of the fifth, the owner of the vehicle which according to the police was seen in the vicinity of the arson at the time, until Sunday in order to allow the police to complete the investigation. The police announced that they would appeal the decision and requested that the release be postponed until the appeal was filed. Judge Avital authorized the request. Simultaneously Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, who is representing the youths, appealed the remand extension of the driver. On May 30, the Jerusalem District Court rejected the appeal. Judge Friedman-Feldman supported the decision of the Jerusalem Magistrate Court according to which there is no connection between the youths and the arson. The deliberation on the appeal filed by Honenu on the remand extension of the fifth detainee will take place the following day in the morning at the Jerusalem District Court. In response to the release Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, who represented the youths, said that “The district court rejected the police appeal and supported the decision of the magistrate court, according to which the evidence against the detainees is problematic. The appeal itself, and also the remand, are another initiative of the new police unit which is attempting to create work for itself by taking advantage of the youth.”

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