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Kochav HaShahar detainees released to house arrest, but not at home

Tuesday, May 12, 2015, 16:56 On Monday, May 11 the Jerusalem District Court ordered the release to house arrest, but not in their community, of two of the Kochav HaShahar residents detained on April 16 after a police detective disguised as an Arab shepherd and three Arab shepherds approached Kochav HaShahar in a staged incident. In total, five residents of Kochav HaShahar and other nearby communities were detained on suspicion of assaulting the group. One of the two detainees released to house arrest is married and has four children. His mother-in-law was murdered in a terror attack near the site of the incident. He will serve his house arrest in Beit El, which will prevent him from working. The other detainee is a law student whose studies will be disrupted. Judge Oded Shacham rejected the Attorney General’s office’s demand to detain both of them until the completion of legal proceedings against them, but agreed to a delay in carrying out the release in order to allow the Attorney General’s office time to consider filing an appeal. On the morning of Tuesday, May 12, the Attorney General’s office announced that they would not appeal the release. Three other detainees in the case were released to house arrest approximately two weeks previously. Honenu attorney David HaLevi stated in response that, “We welcome the release of my clients from remand and the rejection of the disproportional demand by the Attorney General’s office to detain them until the end of proceedings.” But added criticism of the prolonged detention despite the fact that examination of the investigatory material showed that neither of the two detainees had participated in the assault. “We reason that from the start there was no cause to keep them in remand for such a long time, almost one full month. And that is in light of the fact that the incident was staged by the police and that they had not participated in the assault,” said HaLevi, and added that, “In our opinion the restrictive release conditions set by the court, including house arrest not in the detainee’s community, are disproportional and therefore we will consider filing an appeal with the Supreme Court demanding their cancellation.” The incident staged with policemen disguised as Arabs drew strong public criticism. On Tuesday, April 21 Kochav HaShachar froze relationships with the police until further notice and approximately 150 residents of the community demonstrated opposite the Sha’ar Binyamin Police Station Sunday, April 26 with Avi Ro’eh, the head of the Binyamin Regional Council, and other public figures. Knesset Member Yariv Levin, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman, sent a strong letter of criticism to Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the Internal Security Minister, on Monday, April 27 calling on him to examine the incident and to formulate procedures that will prevent similar occurrences in the future. On Sunday, May 3, Honenu attorney David HaLevi filed a complaint with the Police Investigation Unit for threats by policemen to detainees, false testimony given by policemen and obstruction of justice by policemen and detectives who participated in the staged incident near Kochav HaShahar. See here for more information .

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