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Forged document prevents soldier’s release

Thursday, February 9, 2017, 14:48 Following a petition to the High Court of Justice, the IDF admitted that the date on an appeal filed by a soldier had been forged in order to prevent his release. The Internal Investigations Unit of the IDF opened an investigation. The soldier was sentenced on Sunday, January 29, to 20 days in military prison. He was accused of publicizing a video clip in which he told the commanders of the construction unit in which he serves as an electrician that he is not willing to participate in preparing temporary bases for the evacuation forces. In the video clip he also called on other soldiers to join him in refusing to participate in the evacuation of the Amona residents because the destruction of the settlement is against the Torah and harms the community. On Wednesday, February 1, the soldier filed an appeal on the decision. According to regulations an appeal must be judged within 72 hours, and if it is not, then legal proceedings are canceled. On Saturday, February 4, after Shabbat, when the appeal had not yet been judged, Honenu Attorney Menachem Stauber, who is representing the soldier, sent an urgent letter to the Military Advocate General demanding the immediate release of the soldier. The following day an officer came to the soldier and presented the appeal to him on which the date appeared as that of Shabbat. The soldier was shocked and stated that the date had been forged. He had kept a copy of the appeal and therefore Stauber demanded that the prisons’ security cameras be examined in order to prove the time of the appeal’s filing and to check who forged it. The Military Advocate General decided to prevent the release of the soldier and in an unusual step informed Stauber that the Deputy Judge Advocate General decided to allow a delay in the deliberation on the appeal and the officer who ruled on the appeal decided to postpone it which resulted in leaving the soldier in remand despite the forgery and the fact that the appeal had not been judged within 72 hours. Stauber is of the opinion that the decision by the Military Advocate General is illegal. With the assistance of Honenu the soldier filed a petition with the High Court of Justice in which he demanded his release due to the failings in the legal process and also the forgery of the date of the appeal which he had filed. Subsequent to the petition’s filing, on Wednesday, February 8, the IDF admitted that the soldier’s claim of forgery is correct. The IDF also announced that the Internal Investigations Unit of the IDF, which is not subordinate to the Chief Military Police Officer, opened an investigation to locate the individual responsible for the forged appeal document. In the response to the High Court of Justice the State wrote that, “It seems that indeed alterations and deletions were made to the date of the document … We clarify that the prosecution regards with seriousness the suspicion which arose, according to which a change was made to the date of the appeal document which was filed by the petitioner. In light of these things it was decided to open a criminal investigation.” Despite the admission of forgery the IDF continues to hold the soldier in military prison. On Tuesday, February 14, the Justices of the High Court will have to rule on whether or not the Deputy Judge Advocate General’s decision to postpone the deliberation was legal. It should be noted that recently a soldier who had in his possession fliers supporting Elor Azarya was released after his appeal was not judged within 72 hours. This practice is customary according to military laws in a decisive majority of cases and Stauber pointed out the Military Advocate General’s discrimination against the soldier. Honenu Attorney Menachem Stauber, who represented the soldier, stated that, “Beyond the legal flaws in the disciplinary proceedings, the forgery of the document by the authority of the army is a most serious step which should be of concern to everyone. The interference of the Deputy Judge Advocate General and his decision to authorize a late deliberation on the appeal, contrary to regulations and the customary policy, was difficult to understand and will be clarified in the Supreme Court.” Honenu: The forgery of the document is a serious crime which must be fully investigated. However the Deputy Judge Advocate General’s decision, which gives off a heavy scent of politics, adds insult to injury. It seems that the entire system is standing on its hind legs in order to prevent the soldier’s release, only because the incident involves opposition to destroying Amona.” See here for a partial listing of cases Honenu is handling involving Amona detainees.

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