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Military prosecution rejects appeal

Thursday, January 31, 2019, 16:02 On Thursday, January 31, a deliberation took place at the Ofer Military Court on the appeal filed by the mother and brother of the Barkan terrorist, who are demanding release from remand to house arrest. They were detained on suspicion that they had known about his intent to carry out an attack and did not stop him. The military prosecution objected to the appeal on the grounds that house arrest would enable them to flee from the authorities and escape punishment. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is assisting the families of the murder victims, stated that, “It cannot be that a family of terrorists such as this or any terrorists, is released in the middle of proceedings. After a release the trial is not effective.” Rafi Levengrond, the father of Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, Hy”d, who was murdered in the attack, was present at the deliberation and demanded that the relatives of the terrorist remain in remand. The court minutes recorded that the military prosecutor requested that the appeals be rejected on the grounds that the penalty for the crimes of the mother and the brother will be severe: “Which raises the concern that the two petitioners will attempt to flee from the threat of the law.” The prosecutor specified that the terrorist had told his mother about his intent, and instead of turning to the Palestinian Authority or the police she told another son, the terrorist’s brother. “The petitioner went to another son, told him about it and told him that Ashraf (the terrorist) told her that it was likely that the army would come and search the house. Therefore when she (the mother) went and told the appellant he also knew (about the intended attack), because his mother told him about it. This was not some man off the street who told him that his brother purchased a weapon.” The military prosecutor pleaded that the appellants were likely to want to flee, and recalled the pursuit of the terrorist: “In light of the circumstances we think that the appellants are likely to receive a stiff penalty. They have a reason not to return to court. They live in Area A, and there is no need to remind anyone about how much time it took to arrest the terrorist himself and for how long the security forces pursued him as he was going around these places.” The prosecutor added that the terrorist’s brother attempted to obscure evidence and to conceal video clips that were circulating on social media that documented the fact that he knew about his brother’s intent. The prosecutor concluded: “Is the penalty not likely to be significant, is there not a reasonable chance that the two appellants will flee and later also attempt to disrupt the trial? We think that this possibility is very logical.” Rafi Levengrond, the father of Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, who was murdered in the attack in Barkan, was present at the deliberation and said that, “I am here in the military court. These are the mother and the brother of the terrorist who murdered my daughter, Kim. And according to what I have heard, these two people are not worthy of freedom, and certainly not to be released before the end of proceedings, because if the court does make this error, I believe that they will never be found again.” Levengrond added, “Even if they themselves do not think like this, their friends will take care of it. And they live in a very hostile place, Area A, and we saw what happened to the soldiers who came to ‘renovate’ the house. What happened to them? They were attacked there. So if the court decides to release them, it is reasonable to assume that they will not come to the trial and justice will not be done, and we are in favor of justice.” Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is assisting the families of the murder victims, was also present at the deliberation. “Just now there was a deliberation on the appeal of the remand extension until the end of proceedings of the terrorist’s brother and of the remand of his mother. The attorney for the defense attempted to claim that the family of the terrorist did not know exactly [what he was planning]. However as the military prosecutor stated, this family was part of the process. They knew that the terrorist was training with the weapon. His mother knew. The terrorist said that he was going to carry out an attack soon. Afterwards his brother obscured evidence. “It cannot be that a family of terrorists such a this or any terrorists, is released in the middle of proceedings. After a release the trial is not effective. The deterrence factor has been weakened. We expect from the court that the judge will leave them in prison, and later stiff penalties will be handed down as is suitable for them. They should be imprisoned for many years.” Bleicher also said that, “If we do not know how to combat an environment of terror, then we will find ourselves day after day with attacks. The time has come for us to drain the entire swamp. We should relate to this matter as genuine terror, and not as another criminal detention. With criminal detentions there are different considerations with regards to release conditions. Here, with a band of terrorists that does not have any trust in the State, their entire aim is to fight the State, to combat our existence. It is unthinkable to conditionally release them or to give them any belief of release before they have been tried to the full extent of the law. “When one talks about the war on terror that is calling for the destruction of Israel and the genocide of the Jewish people, there are no light crimes. Every terror crime is dangerous. The family of a terrorist who knew that their son was planning a terror attack and did not prevent it is part of the same act, and they must not be conditionally released or given any trust. Lenient treatment of terrorists, even at the stage of detentions, squashes any possibility of trying them to the full extent of the law or increasing deterrence of terror. We demand that the court not have a hand in the release of terrorists and to try them to the full extent of the law,” concluded Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher.

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