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Harassment of the “spies” continues

Thursday, July 5, 18:58 The police summoned for investigation-under-warning the parents and grandmother of one of the “spies” and opened criminal files on them. Last Shabbat Meir Ettinger., a youth residing in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem, was detained on suspicion that he had violated his house arrest, Honenu reports. Ettinger and several of his friends are accused of participating in the attempt to thwart the destruction of the Ramat Gilad and Mitzpe Yitzhar outposts, both of Yitzhar, in the Shomron. In the indictment filed by the State against Ettinger and his friends an espionage clause not used since the days of the British Mandate was used. According the Itzik Bam, the suspect’s attorney, that usage reveals the nature of the case. Ettinger and his friends, who thanks to the severe accusation received from the media the questionable nickname “the spies”, have been under house arrest with particularly harsh conditions for half a year, including prohibition of telephone and Internet use. The group was detained approximately half a year ago after an incident in which a group of students from a Jerusalem yeshiva broke into the Ephraim Brigade base in the Shomron. (See here and here.) The students broke into the base in protest of the destruction of Ramat Gilad and Mitzpe Yitzhar planned for the same night. Following the disturbances which developed that night the destruction was postponed by one day. According to residents of the outposts, the destruction the following day was facilitated by the string of denunciations to which key figures in the Yehuda, Shomron and national-religious public joined following attacks made in the media and by the left-wing. Several days after the Epraim Brigade incident Ettinger and several friends were detained in several locations. According to the police, material in their personal computers and records of their phone calls reveal that on the day of incident they managed a network of information transfers about the movements of army troops in order to thwart the planned destruction of the outposts. The police filed serious charge sheets against the members of the group and they were released to house arrest under extremely limiting conditions. As stated above, last Shabbat Ettinger was detained when he was outside of his house without one of the escorts authorized by the police. According to Ettinger he was on his way to synagogue for Shabbat services. The police claim that there was no justification for walking to prayers so far from his place of residence. The police decided to summon for investigation-under-warning all of the escorts authorized by the police for Ettinger, including his grandmother, Rabbanit Libby Kahane, the widow of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, ztz”l, and his parents, and to open criminal files on them. The police also demanded that the court order the individuals who posted a total of 30,000 NIS bond to forfeit, an extremely unusual demand in light of the violation, according to Bam. On Sunday Ettinger was brought to a deliberation at the Jerusalem District Court where his remand was extended until today. During the deliberation Bam pleaded that although there was a violation of the conditions, the conduct and the demands of the State Attorney are completely disproportional. “What penalty does the State Attorney’s office leave for serious violations of conditions if after a minor violation such as this they already “take all”?” asked Bam in court. Judge Amnon Cohen postponed giving a decision until next Wednesday. Judge Cohen postponed the decision on forfeiting the bond monies for one and a half weeks. Honenu reports that, “This week during which we heard that the State signed a plea bargain with a journalist suspected of serious espionage, Uri Blau, and settled for a penalty of four months of community service, because he is associated with the “right” crowd, the feeling that the persecution in this case is of a purely political nature is sharpened.”

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