Honenu Atty. Shimshilashvili; Photo credit: Honenu
Tuesday, June 6, 2023, 8:19 Recently, two yeshiva students driving on the road near Hevron were attacked by an Arab. When the victims reported the attack to the police they were detained as suspects of a nationalist crime. When the case was presented to the Jerusalem District Court, the victims were unconditionally released by Judge Ilan Sela.
The incident began when the two students were making their way toward the yeshiva in Hevron. At some point, they stopped on the side of the road, and an Arab passing by cursed and threatened them. The students did not respond and continued driving. The Arab chased them in his car, eventually ramming into their vehicle causing them to stop. The Arab driver then got out of his car and threw rocks at the two Jews. The students called the 100 emergency police number and reported the attack as they escaped.
The two students went to the Hevron Police Station and filed a complaint. The complaint was transferred to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police, who then treated it as a nationalistically motivated attack carried out by the Jews on the Arab. The police then summoned the complainants back to the Hevron Police Station to give additional testimony. As the victims were on their way to the station, police officers from the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police detained them and held them in remand.
The Yehuda and Shomron Police asked the Jerusalem Magistrates Court to extend their remand by six days. However, the judge accepted Honenu Attorney Nati Rom's claim that his clients were the innocent parties and ordered the victims released to house arrest. The police appealed the decision to the Jerusalem District Court. Honenu Attorney Daniel Shimshilashvili counter-appealed for unconditional release.
At the District Court hearing, Judge Ilan Sela accepted Attorney Shimshilashvili's claims and unconditionally released the detainees. Judge Sela also leveled criticism at the police, partially for treating the complainants as suspects from the moment the officers arrived on the scene. Judge Sela cited that there is no evidence in the investigative material of any police activity regarding the complaint by the victims of the assault and that the police did not carry out any investigative action on the matter. "Already at an early stage, when the police arrived on the scene, they decided to treat the incident as if the respondents were suspects and almost completely disregarded their complaint," wrote Judge Sela in his decision.
Honenu Attorney Daniel Shimshilashvili welcomed the District Court's decision: "It is not every day that we see detainees in a 'Central Unit' case released from their handcuffs on the spot and in a district courthouse. I very much hope that following the court's clear, decisive decision the police will draw the correct conclusions and understand that a one-sided investigation has a price. The incident that occurred should rob the sleep of anyone who values life. This was an attack on youths that quickly resulted in their detention on serious charges. If it were not for the diligence of the honorable court, this could have developed into extreme proportions and become another shocking story of atrocious injustice. I am pleased that I was able to assist with the release of the youths who were at risk of being deprived of their freedom through no fault of their own."
Honenu Attorney Nati Rom added, "Unfortunately, the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police has chosen again to corrupt an investigation. They took on an investigative case of Jews who had been attacked by an Arab and when the victims came to testify about their attack, they detained them and treated them as suspects instead of crime victims. The 'Central Unit' admitted to not investigating the accusation that the Arab had attacked the Jews, and did not give any credence to the Jews' testimony about the incident, despite the evidence of the damage to their car, and the phone call for help made in real-time to the police emergency number. We are pleased that the court accepted our claims and unconditionally released the victims. One can only regret that the Israel Police maintains a department that acts only against Jews, is dishonest, and as a result, corrupts investigations."