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Judge in Geulat Tzion case states: There has been no progress in the investigation

Tuesday, March 5, 15:41 Correction: The masked security forces who participated in the raid on Geulat Tzion were policemen, not soldiers. Soldiers did not participate in the raid. One minor has been released from remand and the remand of the other two detainees has been extended by two days. If there is no progress in the investigation yet another case which began with a large-scale raid and several detainees, will end with no indictments being issued. After two deliberations at the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court, it appears that one more “price tag” case is coming to a close. The case which began with a wide-scale raid including a special police unit, GSS personnel, and a drone, is now described as lacking evidence. One week after four youths were detained, one of whom was released the same day, Judge Nachum Sternlicht stated that there has been no progress in the investigation and released one of the detainees, a minor. The remand of the other two detainees has been extended by two days. Last Wednesday, February 27, security forces detained four youths in a dawn raid on the Geulat Tzion outpost in the Shilo bloc. Masked policemen who participated in the raid handcuffed all of the single men living in the outpost with plastic handcuffs, forced them to sit in a group and aimed their weapons at them. At the end of an extensive search of the outpost the police took four detainees and left the rest of the youths handcuffed. The three of the detainees were taken to the Kishon detention center in Acco where they were interrogated in a GSS facility. The fourth detainee was taken to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police in Ma’aleh Adumim and interrogated there. Later the same day he was brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate Court for a deliberation and sent home under house arrest for five days. From the Kishon detention center the three detainees were brought the same day to the Natzeret Magistrate Court and, after a short deliberation, the judge accepted Honenu attorney Adi Kedar’s plea that the rights of the minors had been violated and that the Natzeret Magistrate Court did not have the authority to rule on the case because the supposed misdemeanor has not taken place within its jurisdiction. In accordance with the judge’s decision, the deliberation was postponed until the following day and transferred to the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court. On Thursday, February 28, the three detainees were brought to the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court where the police demanded that their remand be extended by ten days. Kedar asked the police representative if the detainees had been interrogated on the misdemeanor of which they were accused and he refused to answer the question. Later Kedar criticized the conduct of the GSS because the youths were being kept in cells meant for terrorists. The young men, aged 15-18, were dressed in prisoners’ uniforms, in complete opposition to the law and also housed in cells with a mattress instead of a bed and a hole in the floor instead of a toilet. According to Kedar the GSS was using unacceptable methods in order to pressure the youths into confessing to acts which they hadn’t done. Also holding the first deliberation in the Natzeret Magistrate Court was meant to prevent the family and friends of the detainees from coming to the deliberation, thereby increasing the emotional pressure on the youths. At the end of the deliberation, their remand was extended by five days. On Tuesday, March 5 the three detainees were brought to the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court where the police demanded a ten-day remand extension. Judge Nachum Sternlicht rejected the demand, stating that since the detention there has not been significant progress in the investigation. The judge released one of the minors to one week of house arrest on condition of an agreement to appear for interrogations and posting bail. The remand of the other two detainees has been extended by two days. Honenu strongly criticizes the conduct of the police, “The absurd situation in which at even the slightest chance that a nationalistically motivated incident might be caused by Jews, the police invest resources appropriate for a large scale military operation must come to an end.” Honenu attorney Aharon Roza, who represented the detainees in today’s deliberation, said in response that, “I am pleased that the court apparently determined that one of the minors is not connected to the incident and was therefore released. Concerning the other two detainees, their remand was extended until Thursday, only two more days. To the best of my understanding the police do not have substantial evidence of involvement by the youths in carrying out a misdemeanor and, all the more so, not enough to obtain an indictment. I hope that the other detainees will be released by Thursday.”

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