Jerusalem District Court: Conduct of judge inappropriate

Wednesday, July 17, 22:13 As reported previously, on Sunday, July 14 six young men, four of them minors, were detained during an planned ambush by the police as they raided Givat HaSeruga, one of Yitzhar’s hilltops. Residents of the hilltop say that during the past few weeks security forces have been harassing them by repeatedly issuing closed military zone orders in order to prevent them from remaining on the site. In order to enforce the orders the security forces raided every night and sometimes during the day in an attempt to detain residents of the hilltop. The Jerusalem District Court accepted on Tuesday, July 16 the appeal filed by Honenu and reduced by three days the remand of the minors detained on Sunday, July 14 in Yitzhar on suspicion of assaulting security forces who raided Givat HaSeruga, one of Yitzhar’s hilltops. In his decision the President of the Jerusalem District Court, Judge David Cheshin leveled criticism at Judge Tamar Bar-Asher Tsaban, “You violated rights and showed lack of neutrality.” In response to the Judge Bar-Asher Tsaban Honenu sent an urgent letter to the Ministry of Justice. On Monday, July 15 Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Tamar Bar-Asher Tsaban, extended the remand of four minors by six days, until the coming Sunday, July 21, despite the fact that the law allows an extension of only five days in the case of a remand for the purpose of facilitating investigation. The judge also expressed her personal opinion in remarks on the minors and the acts attributed to them. Following the conduct of the Jerusalem Magistrate Court and Judge Bar-Asher Tsaban, Honenu attorney David HaLevi, who is representing the detainees, filed an urgent appeal with the Jerusalem District Court. In the appeal HaLevi wrote that the conduct of the court was not objective, which raises a suspicion that the decision is biased and not topical. “In addition to the criticism couched in juristic rhetoric, which is inappropriate and appears to be irrelevant to the matter at hand, there is no serious judgment in the decision on the evidence which raises a suspicion of their involvement with other acts that have been attributed to them. Also there is no legal basis determining that the investigation justifies the remand of the minors,” wrote HaLevi in his demand to shorten the remand. As stated above, Judge David Cheshin accepted Honenu’s appeal and significantly reduced the length of remand on the minors and ruled that their rights as minors had been violated. As for the remarks made by Judge Bar-Asher Tsaban and her expression of her personal opinion on the acts attributed to the minors, Judge Cheshin confirmed that it was problematic rhetoric which damages the image of the court as a neutral factor. Honenu welcomes the decision of the Jerusalem District Court and states that, “The words of Jerusalem District Court President Judge David Cheshin are an important statement. The conduct of Judge Bar-Asher Tsaban raises a serious concern of cynical use of remand extension as a means of punishment.” On Wednesday, July 17 Honenu attorney and the organization’s legal advisor Adi Kedar sent a urgent letter to Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni and the head of the Court Administration Judge Michael Spitzer demanding examination of Judge Bar-Asher Tsaban’s remarks.

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