Indictment filed against demonstrators protesting synagogue destruction

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 10:05 An indictment was filed on Wednesday, November 18 against three adults and two minors suspected of blocking a street and setting several tires on fire in protest of the planned destruction of the Ayelet HaShahar Synagogue in Givat Ze’ev approximately one week previously. The indictment against them is for the crime of endangering human life in a traffic lane, which carries a maximum penalty of approximately 20 years. On Wednesday, November 18, Jerusalem District Court Judge Arnon Darel extended their remand by two weeks, by which time the probation service will give an expert opinion on the case. None of the detainees have a criminal record and none of them have been detained previously. Honenu leveled criticism against the Attorney General’s office for a clause of the indictment which is reminiscent of the period of time prior to the “Disengagement Plan” of August 2005 when at every protest or road-blocking the Attorney General’s office demanded that protesters be held in remand until the end of proceedings. Honenu Attorney David HaLevi, who is representing some of the detainees, is considering appealing the decision with the Supreme Court of Israel. HaLevi stated that, “The attempt to take a group of individuals who protested the destruction of a synagogue and brought the matter to public attention by blocking a street, and to attribute to them the crime of endangering human lives, a crime which carries a penalty of 20 years in prison, is unrealistic. At most the violations of disturbing public order or the negligent use of fire could be attributed to them. The attempt to equate this incident with the nationalist incidents by Arabs whose aim is to injure, is at best hypocrisy and at worst shows a complete loss of judgment by the relevant individuals in the Attorney General’s office.” Honenu notes that apparently the drivers themselves support the protesters according to a video clip publicized in the social media by one of the drivers who was blocked. “To claim that the protesters endangered the drivers by delaying them for a few minutes is scandalous,” said HaLevi. Honenu Attorney Shalom Ben-Shevet, who is also representing some of the detainees, said the following about the conduct of the Attorney General’s office: “The indictment with such a serious charge, and also the demand for remand until the end of proceedings filed against the youths, none of whom have a criminal record, indicates that the State has lost its way. The indictment is based on a collection of information from fragments of evidence lacking a basis, and should not have been filed.”

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