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Four minors to be held in remand until end of proceedings

Monday, September 8, 2014, 14:39 The Jerusalem District Court ordered the remand until end of proceedings of four Jewish minors suspected of setting on fire sofas at an Arab café in the village of Dura al-Qara. “An Arab who smashed the skull of a Jewish man was released and these youths are still in remand?” Honenu finds the situation difficult to understand. On Monday, September 8 Jerusalem District Court Judge Rafael Carmel ordered that the four minors, Jewish youths approximately 16 years of age, residents of communities in the Binyamin region and the city of Arad, remain in remand until end of proceedings. The detainees are accused of setting on fire sofas at an Arab café in the village of Dura al-Qara one day after a structure, which burned to the ground, was set on fire in the nearby Jewish outpost Ma’aleh HaAraba’a (near Beit El). No Arabs were detained on suspicion of involvement with the Ma’aleh HaAraba’a arson incident. Despite the fact that none of the youths have been previously detained and despite the recommendation of the youth probation service to release them, the judge ordered them held in remand until the end of proceedings against them, due to his reasoning that the act was racially motivated. Honenu notes that recently the courts ruled in a large number of cases to release Arabs, some of whom have criminal records and are serving suspended sentences, who were accused of more serious crimes. Only last week Supreme Court Justice Salim Jubran ruled on the release of an Arab minor with a criminal record, accused of much more serious crimes, after he was suspected of throwing fire-bombs at policemen in Jerusalem. Also recently the Jerusalem District Court ordered the release from remand of Yusuf Huleisi, an Arab accused of causing serious injury after he smashed the skull of a Jewish youth near the Dung Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on the eve of the Shavuot holiday (Tuesday, June 3) in an incident which was recorded by security cameras, video clips of which were distributed throughout the media. Huleisi was released by the Jerusalem District Court to house arrest before an expert opinion was received from the probation service on his case, even though he has a criminal record.

Honenu attorneys Adi Kedar and Erez Bar-Tzvi, who are representing the four minors, announced that they will file an appeal with the Supreme Court on the decision. “In our opinion the court’s decision is erroneous and unreasonable,” said Bar-Tzvi in response. “Among other reasons, due to the fact that the detainees are minors without criminal records in whose case favorable reports were given by the youth probation service, which recommend their release. And also in light of the fact that in the incident no injury was caused to any person, rather only damage to property.” Honenu notes the statement made two weeks ago by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni encouraging, “joining the fight she is leading against racism and incitement”. “The entire system is devoted to ‘eradicating racism’, but only from the Jewish side,” said Honenu. “There is intentional discrimination against Jews, otherwise how can one explain the fact that the same court, before receiving an expert opinion from the probation service, released an Arab with a criminal record, accused of smashing a Jewish youth’s skull, and regularly releases Arabs who have thrown fire-bombs and rocks, but keep in remand Jewish minors, who do not have a criminal record, accused of setting sofas on fire?”

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