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Kfar Duma incident: Youth coordinator exonerated of all guilt

Sunday, June 19, 2016, 16:10 Honenu Attorney Adi Kedar: “[Netanel] Furkowitz’s case should keep the general population awake at night, and especially Yehuda and Shomron residents who could find themselves in crazy circumstances being used as pawns, detained under severe conditions through no fault of their own, Six months after Netanel Furkowitz was detained by the ISA and interrogated under severe conditions for 12 days as if he were the worst terrorist, the Attorney General’s office formally acknowledged what Honenu had asserted from the very first moment he was detained: Netanel Furkowitz, the youth coordinator of Kochav HaShahar, had been detained for no reason and he never had any connection to the Kfar Duma arson incident of July 2015. See here for a translation of an open letter from Kochav HaShachar’s leadership in December 2015 in response to the deplorable treatment by the ISA (GSS) of detainees in the Kfar Duma case. In response to a request by Honenu Attorney Adi Kedar, State Prosecutor Rachel-Avisar Ables, from the Central District of the Attorney General’s office, announced that the investigative case opened against Furkowitz on suspicion of involvement with the arson incident in Kfar Duma, has been closed due to lack of guilt. Furkowitz, a recipient of the President’s Award For Excellence in the IDF and a normative head of household who does not have a criminal record, was working at the time of the incident as a youth coordinator in Kochav HaShahar and with the “Hebrew Shepherd” project under the auspices of the Education Ministry, working with hilltop youth. He was detained while he was serving reserve duty and held in remand for approximately 12 days by the ISA on suspicion of involvement with the Kfar Duma arson. The ISA claimed that he sold a car to a hilltop youth from a Shilo Bloc community whom they suspected but later exonerated of involvement with the arson incident. The ISA also claimed that Furkowitz had known about involvement of both the car and the youth with the incident. Despite Furkowitz’s denial of any involvement with the arson and his personal viewpoint strongly opposing “Price Tag” incidents, the courts extended his remand numerous times, relying on “confidential information” which was not presented to the Honenu Attorneys representing him. In the indictment Amiram Ben Uliel was accused of carrying out the arson alone and of arriving in Kfar Duma on foot, not by car. The ISA was forced to admit that the youth who purchased the car from Furkowitz was not connected to the Kfar Duma incident and Furkowitz was released from remand after 12 days of harsh interrogations, including violence at the hands of his interrogators. Honenu Attorney Adi Kedar, who is representing Furkowitz, said in response to the case’s closing that the conduct of the authorities was most serious. “Furkowitz’s case should keep the general population awake at night, and especially Yehuda and Shomron residents who could find themselves in crazy circumstances being used as pawns, detained under severe conditions through no fault of their own, and all in order to serve the aims of the ISA interrogators who know full well that there is no connection between the detainee and the incident, not even a suspicion. It is sad to see that the courts were taken in by this conduct and did not see fit to stop it at the very beginning of the case.” Shmuel (Zangi) Meidad, the director of Honenu, who assisted Furkowitz during his entire remand, said that, “The question is why? Why do certain institutions treat their brothers, soldiers and civilians, so cruelly? And a bigger question is, what is demanded of us, the public? How are we supposed to stop this?” Honenu would like to remind the public of the severe statements made by the individual in charge of ISA interrogations, known as “Migal”, to the rabbi of Kochav Hashahar, HaRav Ohad Krakover when he attempted to contact the ISA to demand the release of Furkowitz. “Migal” claimed that Kochav Ha’Shahar, where the current Police Commissioner, Roni Alsheich, resided for many years, is a community which supports terror and that “anyone who has guzambot [large bushy payot] is a terrorist”.

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