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Five days remand over suspicion of tearing shirt

Sunday, August 24, 2014, 21:07 Five Jewish youths (four minors and one adult) were held in remand for five days after being detained in Jerusalem on suspicion of assaulting Arabs. On Sunday, August 24 they were released at the police station after the police were forced to admit that the charge of assault was based on a suspicion of merely tearing the shirt of an Arab youth. All of the detainees denied assaulting the Arabs and claimed that they had approached the Arabs after they suspected that they had broken a cell phone belonging to one of them. The five youths were detained on Tuesday, August 19 at night after a demonstration in protest of the detention of a yeshiva student who did not report to the enlistment office after being drafted. According to the police after the demonstration dispersed the five Jewish youths assaulted two Arab youths approximately 20 years of age, near HaHoma HaShlishit Street. The five youths were detained in pre-dawn searches and brought to the Lev HaBira Police Station in Jerusalem and later to a court deliberation. According to their testimony one of them was involved with a minor traffic accident and after he returned to his car after exchanging details with the other driver involved with the accident he noticed that his cell phone had been damaged and thrown near his car. He decided to look for whomever damaged his phone and the four minors, some of whom are his friends joined him. According to them they noticed two youths near them, whom they initially thought were hareidi – the area in which the incident occurred is predominantly hareidi – and asked them if they had damaged the cell phone. The two youths, who turned out to be Arabs, reacted in a suspicious manner and fled the scene. The five youths chased them, to no avail. The youths deny that they assaulted the Arabs. The remand of the five youths – four minors and one adult – was extended twice by the court. During the deliberations the police investigators refused to reveal how the detainees are suspected of assaulting the Arabs youths. Due to the electric shocker and tear gas found in the adult’s car the police attributed conspiring to commit a crime to the detainees, even though there was no claim that the items had been used. Only at the deliberation on Friday, August 22 did the police obligate the police investigators to reveal to Honenu attorney Avichai Hajbi that the assault amounted to tearing a shirt. In her decision the judge extended the remand until Sunday, August 24, but ordered that the police arrive to the following deliberation after consulting with Attorney General’s office concerning filing an indictment against the detainees. On the morning of Sunday, August 24 the police informed Hajbi of their decision to release the detainees, none of whom have a criminal record, at the police station to a five-day house arrest. It is not clear whether or not an indictment will be filed against them for tearing the shirt. Hajbi responded: “The detainees all lack a criminal record and suddenly found themselves behind bars. From the moment of the detention the detainees denied carrying out the act and stated that they had been assaulted. Time will tell if the case will reach an indictment or if it is another case that will end quietly.”

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