How did the father of 8 children, with no criminal record, find himself accused of persuading a man
Tuesday, September 6 17:56 How did a resident of Ofakim, a father of eight children who suffers from medical problems and completely lacks a criminal record, find himself accused of persuading a man to place an explosive charge in the vehicle of a policeman? Thanks to the legal struggle waged by Honenu, and only after the senior figures in the Attorney General’s office came to their senses, was an innocent man released to his home. One of the more astonishing stories with which Honenu has dealt over the past year occurred last week in the city of Ofakim. The beginning of the matter started two and a half weeks ago when two Jewish youths, residents of Ofakim, were arrested on suspicion of throwing a fire bomb at an Arab’s house in the city. At one of the deliberations of the two detainees, Menachem (not his real name), an Ofakim resident who studies on a regular basis with one of the detainees, arrived at the courthouse. At the end of the deliberation an argument developed between him and one of the police investigators, during which Menachem told the policeman, “Let’s see what you do when your daughters go out with Arabs,” and “There is genuine justice and there is G-d in the world.” Several days after the exchange of words Menachem was summoned for interrogation at the Ofakim police station. Menachem appeared for the interrogation last Thursday, and was interrogated on suspicion of persuading another man to place an explosive charge under the vehicle of the police investigator with which he had argued at the courthouse, and also on suspicion of threatening the investigator in the course of the exchange of words at the courthouse. According to the police an Ofakim resident who was arrested in a different case entered the cell of the two suspects in the arson case, after he agreed work with the police and get them to talk. In the process of getting them to talk the detainee working with the police said that Menachem told him that someone should place an explosive charge in the policeman’s vehicle. Menachem was dumbfounded when he heard the claim and denied the charges. Menachem even asked to confront the detainee working with the police in order to dispel the claim, but the detainee refused. It should be noted that Menachem, aged 44, is the father of eight children, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome, has a completely clean criminal record and has never been in trouble with the police. On the contrary, he is known in Ofakim as being active with charitable organizations and assists people in distress. The following day (Friday) Menachem was brought to the Be’er Sheva Magistrate Court where the police issued a statement of prosecution , signed by the state prosecutor Yo’av Atar, according to which he intends to issue a charge sheet against him for the crime of persuading another man to place an explosive charge, even though on the police request to extend his remand only the matter of “threatening” the investigator in the courthouse is written. The police requested a five-day extension on Menachem’s remand. Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, who represented Menachem in the deliberation, demanded his release being as the entire case is weak, resting on an incidental statement by a biased criminal detainee. Kedar revealed during the deliberation that the detainee came to Menachem’s house after he was released and told his wife that the police investigators promised him that his case would be closed if he incriminated Menachem’s friends. Additionally Kedar said that it would be appropriate to transfer the investigatory case to a different police station, and not have the Ofakim station investigate the threat to one of its policemen. Judge George Amorai of the Be’er Sheva Magistrate Court ruled in his decision that he found no evidence in the matter of persuading the placement of the explosive charge and certainly there is no crime of threatening in the discussion that occurred in the courthouse, “because the statement that ‘there is G-d’ or ‘genuine justice’ in this context does not constitute a threat.” The judge released Menachem to five days of house arrest, and that was only due to the fact that a statement of prosecution was issued against him according to which a charge sheet would be issued. The police requested a delay in carrying out the decision and appealed to the Be’er Sheva District Court. Honenu also filed an appeal on the decision, demanding that the release conditions be canceled. The Be’er Sheva District Court Judge Mordechai Levi ruled that in his opinion there is evidence in the crimes attributed to the detainee, but he does not want to go into details being as it is Friday afternoon. Judge Levi extended Menachem’s remand until Monday. During the deliberation at the courthouse Menachem, who suffers from medical problems and underwent an operation recently, collapsed. On Shabbat he collapsed again at the detention center and was taken to Soroka Hospital, where he had had his operation. On Sunday Honenu attorney Kedar filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, which scheduled a deliberation on the appeal for Monday. Kedar filed an urgent request to move up the deliberation being as the remand was extended until Monday. However on Sunday afternoon Kedar phoned one of the most senior people in the Attorney General’s office. The attorney told Kedar that the case had reached them and that he knows that the case is weak, and there is insufficient evidence, accordingly the Attorney General’s office is not interested in the case reaching the Supreme Court. The attorney suggested releasing Menachem to 30 days of house arrest. Kedar objected, and in the end it was agreed that he would be released to five days of house arrest and the Attorney General’s office announced that a charge sheet would not be filed against him. At the end of an exhausting and difficult proceeding, Menachem was released to his home, and it seems that, thank G-d, the traumatic event is behind him.