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Judge ordered release of rabbi detained at Jerusalem Day incident

Monday, June 6, 2016, 10:44 On Sunday, June 5, Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge David Shaul Gabai Richter accepted the urgent appeal filed by Honenu on the remand of the 57-year old rabbi accused of assaulting a policemen close to one of the Temple Mount gates on Jerusalem Day. Judge Richter ruled that there was not a reasonable suspicion that the rabbi had committed a crime and ordered his release. Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi, who represented the rabbi, stated that, “If not for the quick-wittedness of the eye-witnesses who filmed the incident, my client would have spent several nights in remand, in light of the purposefully erroneous incident reports which the policemen wrote.” The incident began when policemen demanded that a group of Jews who had just exited from the Temple Mount to the neighboring Chain Street, quickly leave although it is customary for Jews to sing and dance there after they leave the Temple Mount. The group continued to sing songs in honor of Jerusalem Day. A clash broke out between the police and the group, during which, the police claimed, the rabbi assaulted a policeman. The rabbi claimed that, on the contrary, the policeman assaulted him and therefore he refused to cooperate with the policemen during interrogation and refrained from answering their questions. After the interrogation the police announced that they would keep the rabbi in remand overnight and in the morning he would be brought to a deliberation. Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado filed an urgent appeal with the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. After being presented with a video clip documenting the incident, Judge Richter scheduled an urgent deliberation at which Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi represented the rabbi. In his decision the judge ruled that there was not a reasonable suspicion that he had committed a crime. The judge also noted that the police incident reports contradict the evidence in the video clip presented to him by a member of the group and mentioned that he would not have scheduled an urgent deliberation on the appeal had he not been shown the clip. “The video clip shows that the appellee who stood in the front of the group was lightly hit by the policeman, for no reason that I could discern, other than the fact that the group was in a crowded alley in which people were bumping into each other and yelling at one another,” wrote Judge Richter. The police demand to ban the rabbi for a lengthy period of time from the Old City of Jerusalem and to require posting bail was rejected by the judge who was not convinced that “there is a reasonable suspicion that he committed a crime against the policeman and no evidence showing that an order of any kind by the police was violated has been presented to me.” Accordingly Judge Richter ordered the release of the rabbi on condition of signing on “an obligation to obey the rules customary in the Old City.”

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