Judge stated: The detention of minors is not a means of punishment

Tuesday, April 23, 9:13 At the end of two deliberations late Monday (April 22) night at the Jerusalem District and Magistrate Courts the Police Unit of Nationalist Crime achieved yet another failure. The judges strongly criticized keeping in remand the minors who were suspected of assaulting Arabs and ordered them released to their homes. Attorney Ben-Gvir, who represented the youths on behalf of Honenu, stated that the police would not have dared to conduct themselves in the same manner with Arabs.

In a raid on a yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem on the morning of Monday, April 22, four yeshiva students aged 14-15 were detained on suspicion that in response to Arabs assaulting Jewish residents of the Old City of Jerusalem, they assaulted several Arabs. The youths were taken to the Central Unit of Police in Jerusalem where they were interrogated. Despite the early hour of the detention which allowed time for their interrogation during most of the day, the policemen did not bring them to juvenile court during the entire day.

During evening hours policemen from the Central Unit of Police announced that the minors would remain in remand all night and only in the morning would they be brought to a deliberation. Honenu, which is handling the case, was furious with the conduct of the police over their usage of remand as a punishment and not as part of the investigation, according to Honenu, “time after time”. Already yesterday evening Honenu attorney Adi Kedar filed an urgent appeal with the magistrate court requesting that the minors’ case be judged already in order to save the youths from spending the night in remand. The magistrate court rejected the request and ruled that the deliberation would take place the following morning as planned. It should be noted that subsequent to the filing of the appeal the police changed their minds about leaving two of the youths in remand and released them to their homes.

District Court Judge Moshe Yo’ed HaCohen accepted the request for a deliberation, which was scheduled for the evening. During the deliberation attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir represented the youths on behalf of Honenu. Ben-Gvir pleaded that the police should not demand to leave the youths in remand overnight when there is a possibility to avoid it. The judge accepted Ben-Gvir’s plea, relying on the law which rules that remand is the last option in the order of preferences, particularly when young minors are concerned. Also the judge noted the pleas that were written in the appeal, according to which the youths have no criminal record and the incidents involved did not occur during the past few days. The judge ordered that the magistrate court rule on the case already the same night.

In a deliberation which took place at midnight Judge Yitzhak Shimoni severely criticized the conduct of the police which, according to him, used remand as a form of punishment and not as a means of investigation, as required according to law. In contrast to the police demand to extend the youths’ remand by seven days Judge Shimoni accepted the opinion of Ben-Gvir, who presented a list of rulings on Arabs who were suspected of throwing rocks and were released within a short period of time due to their young age. In his decision, which was given at 2:00 A.M., Judge Shimoni ordered that the youths be released to house arrest and post bail in order to allow for the continuation of the investigation.

In response to the decision to release the youths attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who represented the youths on behalf of Honenu, said, “It is a great shame that the police discriminate between Jews and Arabs. If Arab minors had been involved no-one would have requested a remand extension. Not a day goes by that Jews are not assaulted in the Old City of Jerusalem, but the police act primarily against Jews. It is good that the court has set limits for the police. They can conduct an investigation without minors being in remand, and the decision which determines that cases involving minors must be ruled on urgently, even in the middle of the night, is a decision which represents well the concern for citizens’ rights in a Jewish and democratic state.”

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