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Judge on mosque arson case: The evidence is weak

Sunday, July 22, 9:44 In the ruling on the appeal filed by Honenu the policemen had hoped that Judge Segal would side with them, however Judge Segal criticized the quality of the evidence presented by the police. Last Wednesday security forces detained two minors in simultaneous raids on Havat Gilad and Ramat Migron. The detainees were taken to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’ale Adumim where they were interrogated on suspicion of involvement with the mosque arson in Kfar Jaba, an Arab village near the community of Adam in the Binyamin region, approximately one month ago. Near the arson site graffiti reading “Price Tag Givat Ulpana” was found. The youths spent the night in remand and were brought the following morning before Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Tamar Bar-Asher Tsaban. Despite the demand by the police to extend the remand by ten days, the judge extended the remand by only five days. During the deliberation no material relating to the investigation was presented in court. Material was presented only to Judge Bar-Asher Tsaban due to the claim by the police that it is “confidential material”. Also police representatives refused to ask questions posed by Honenu attorney Adi Kedar who is representing the two minors. In response to the court’s ruling Honenu filed an appeal with the Jerusalem District Court on their remand. On Friday District Court Judge Tzvi Segal ruled on the appeal. At the opening of the deliberation attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who represented the two detainees on behalf of Honenu, pleaded that Judge Segal should disqualify himself from judging the case. According to Ben-Gvir his clients told him that during the ride in the police car from court the policemen spoke among themselves about the expected appeal. They hoped that the appeal would be judged by Judge Segal and therefore “Everything will go smoothly.” Judge Segal refused to consider disqualifying himself and began the deliberation. In his decision the judge ordered that the detainees not be released, despite the weak evidence against them. The judge noted that if there was no development in the investigation by Monday then they would be released.

In an additional deliberation on the appeal on the remand extension of a Migron resident, the police representatives refused to have the case judged before Judge Orit Efa’al-Gabay. In the end the appeal was judged before Judge Segal. Judge Segal ruled in the same manner that he had on the two minors from Havat Gilad and Ramat Migron: if there is no development in the investigation the detainee will be released. Itamar Ben-Gvir, who represented the three detainees on behalf on Honenu, stated that, “The conduct of the police is most disturbing. Despite the fact that the case was scheduled to be judged before Judge Efa’al-Gabay they insisted that the case be judged by Judge Segal. At a certain point the police simply refused to enter the courtroom of Judge Efa’al-Gabay. I hope that we haven’t reached the days in which the Israeli Police in general and the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police in particular, decide on their own which judge will preside.”

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