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Gush Halav detainees released to house arrest

Monday, June 2, 2014, 21:11 The three minors accused of involvement with a “Price Tag” incident in the Galilee village of Gush Halav were released to house arrest on Monday, June 2, despite the request by the Attorney General’s office to keep them in remand until the end of proceedings. The police claim that the three minors, residents of Jerusalem, the Har Hevron region and the Binyamin region, aged 15 and 17, arrived at the village of Gush Halav late at night on Wednesday, April 2, punctured the tires of vehicles belonging to Arabs living in the village and spray painted graffiti in response to the destruction of houses in Yitzhar. After a lengthy investigation, during part of which the three detainees were barred by a special order from meeting with an attorney, representatives of the Attorney General’s office in the northern district of Israel filed an indictment against them on May 26. However it seems that already the case is crumbling. From the very beginning, Honenu attorneys Adi Kedar and Barak Friedman asserted that the case rests on extremely weak circumstantial evidence and that the indictment was filed only due to pressure from the media and political figures concerned about “Price Tag” incidents. After the attorneys received the material from the investigation, they more strongly asserted their claim that the case was weak. During the deliberation on Monday, June 2 the Honenu attorneys strongly attacked the conduct of the police and the investigatory authorities. With the assistance of experts in the police force, the investigators built a case lacking in any factual basis in order to determine the identity of the suspects, without presenting evidence connecting them to the act. Judge Yonatan Avraham ruled at the end of the deliberation on the release of the three minors to house arrest until the court rules on the evidence. The ruling is expected to be given soon. Honenu attorney Barak Friedman, who is representing one of the minors, said in response to the release, “After hearing the claims of both sides, the district court made an unusual ruling. Even before examining the defense attorneys’ evidence that there were no grounds to continue the remand, and the court ruled that the defendants must be released. This is an important stage of the indictment, which is built on non-existent evidence.” Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, who is representing two of the minors said, “The court listened with great attention to the serious claims made against the conduct in investigation of this case. In a precedent-making decision, even before examining the file, the court ordered the release of the minors, and then took the file of the investigation for examination in order to rule on later.”

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