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Jerusalem District Court: Police are quick to file futile appeals

Monday, June 3, 15:59 After almost a week in remand, following an appeal filed by Honenu, the Jerusalem District Court ordered that the fifth youth suspected of involvement with setting a field on fire be released and criticized the appeals policy of the police. Four other detainees in the case had already be released last week on May 30. Judge Winograd stated: I do not recall a period of time during which there were so many futile appeals filed by the police. Last Tuesday, May 28, security forces demolished a home in the community of Havat Ma’aon in the Har Hevron region. The police claim that following the demolition a brush fire was set in a field owned by an Arab resident of the village of Zif, located close to Havat Ma’on. Approximately two hours after the arson security forces, who were stationed in the area in order to ensure that no Arabs would be injured in response to the demolition, stopped a car in which five Jewish youths, two of them minors, were traveling on suspicion that they were involved with the arson. On Wednesday, May 29 the Jerusalem Magistrate Court ordered the release of four out of the five detainees due to there being no basis for linking them to the incident. The driver of the car remained in remand in order to allow the police to complete their investigation. The police filed an appeal on the release of the four detainees, which was rejected by the Jerusalem District Court on Thursday, May 30. The remand of the driver was extended again on Friday, May 31 – until June 2 – and the appeal filed by Honenu on his remand extension was rejected. On Sunday, June 2 the Jerusalem Magistrate Court extended the detainee’s remand until Wednesday, June 5 after the police claimed that they had not yet completed the investigation on him due to the appeals on his case to which they had to appear. Subsequent to the remand extension Honenu filed an appeal with the Jerusalem District Court which was accepted on Monday, June 3 by Judge Ram Winograd. In a deliberation which took place on Monday, June 3 at the Jerusalem District Court, Judge Ram Winograd accepted Honenu’s appeal. The judge accepted the plea of attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir according to which it is ridiculous to claim that the police hadn’t had enough time to investigate the suspect because they were in court for deliberations on appeals which had been filed. According to Ben-Gvir only one investigator appeared at each deliberation and additionally one of the appeals was filed by the police. At the request of the police the Judge Winograd postponed the release of the detainee until four P.M. in order to allow the police to complete part of the investigation which required the suspect to be in remand. Despite that the detainee was released already in the early afternoon. In his decision Judge Winograd wrote, “I will comment that the [police] indeed cannot raise the claim that because of an appeal filed by them they require additional time to conduct the investigation, all the more so considering the outcome of the appeal and recently the clear trend of the police to file many appeals which have no justification.” Verbally Judge Winograd added that he cannot recall a period of time in which so many futile appeals have been filed by the police. In response to the decision Ben-Gvir, who represented the detainee on behalf of Honenu, said that, “For several weeks already we have felt an increase in the number of hilltop youth and right-wing activists detained and also the legally baseless conduct of the police and the Attorney General’s office which are flooding the court with futile requests. I hope that subsequent to the decision made by the Jerusalem District Court today and other decisions which Honenu has received during the past few weeks the police will internalize the message and stop falsely detaining youth. The police will be sued for their harassment.”

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