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Minor remains in remand, the reason: power games between judges

Saturday night, June 18 21:54 Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Rachel Shalev-Gertel left in remand a 16 year old minor. The reason for the extension is the ten-minute lateness of her attorney, for whom the judge refused to wait. However, it appears that the matter is part of a series of power games being played between the Jerusalem Magistrate Court and the District Court. The courts are taking advantage of minors by playing these games. On Friday morning Honenu attorney David HaLevi requested a reconsideration of the Jerusalem Magistrate Court’s decision to extend the remand of a 16 year old young woman who was arrested on Wednesday. The young woman is suspected of setting on fire a vehicle belonging to an Arab in Hebron approximately one month ago. On Thursday Judge Rachel Shalev-Gertel extended her remand until Sunday. Honenu attorney HaLevi filed an appeal on her remand extension and that of two additional young women who were also arrested in the same case. All of the young women deny all charges. On Thursday evening a deliberation took place at the District Court on the appeal and Judge Moshe Drori released two of the young women from remand, but concerning the third, ruled that the deliberation would return to the Magistrate Court due to a legal procedure. On Friday morning the deliberation took place on the request of attorney HaLevi to release the minor, because according to all opinions the matter concerns the same incident and the same evidence as that of the two young women who were released. At 12:30 Judge Shalev-Gertel scheduled the deliberation for 13:30. Attorney Naftali Wertzberger headed to the Magistrate Court in order to arrive at the deliberation. At 13:35 the judge asked the police representative where the attorney is. He phoned Honenu attorney Wertzberger who explained that he was parking his car in the court parking lot. At 13:40 the judge ruled that the request was postponed being as the attorney had not yet arrived at the courtroom and that the minor would remain in remand until Sunday. Just as the protocol had been typed, attorney Wertzberger arrived and discovered to his astonishment the court’s postponement decision. It should be noted that the schedules of the courts are far from exact, especially on Friday, and particularly when the deliberation is scheduled on such short notice. According to the development of the matter it seems that the decision stems from power games being played between the Magistrate Court and the District Court. Honenu attorney HaLevi, who is representing the minor, commented on the scandalous incident, the conduct of the Magistrate Court and the police who refuse to carry out the decision of the District Court. “The decision of the Magistrate Court to hold a deliberation on our client, a 16 year old minor, in our absence, raises surprise and wonder, especially in light of the irregularities in this case and in light of the special caution necessary when ruling on the remand of a minor. “The matter before us,” comments attorney HaLevi, “is a situation in which three minors were arrested on suspicion of setting a vehicle on fire in Hebron approximately one month ago and are being represented by us. Already several days ago the Magistrate Court ordered a remand of six days for two of them, a period of time considered drastically long by all opinions considering that they are 15 and 16 years old, without previous convictions. On this decision we filed an appeal with the District Court, which received it and ruled that in light of the minor status of my clients and the requisite caution on the question of their remand, their release should be ordered. “Despite the explicit decision to release them and despite the fact that orders to release them had already been signed by the District Court, the police prevented the release of my clients and returned to the Magistrate Court with an additional request to extend the remand of the minors. Our request to immediately release them from their illegal remand was rejected and the Magistrate Court chose again to order the remand of my clients despite the decision of the District Court on the matter. “In this situation,” describes attorney HaLevi, “we came on Thursday to the District Court at six in the evening and filed an appeal on the decision. The Honorable Judge Moshe Drori arrived from his house at eight o’clock in a show of special sensitivity to the fact that minors were involved. Judge Drori ordered the immediate release of my clients from their remand in a final and absolute manner. “In light of the decisions of the District Court and in consideration of the fact that the matter concerns the same investigative case and the same investigative operations, we requested that the Magistrate Court reexamine its decision on the remand of the third minor and order her release as the District Court had done with the two other minors in two different decisions. “Specifically in this situation and in consideration of the development of the case, we reasoned that the court would acquiesce to our request, however not only did that not occur, but rather the deliberation took place without our presence. Despite this we estimate that already in the coming days we will succeed in bringing about the release of our client, whose status is no different from the other two minors we represented and were released after a determined legal battle.” Sources close to the matter responded to the decision of Judge Shalev-Gertel and said that, “In consideration of the fact that the matter concerns the same judge whose decisions the District Court twice refuted, it seems that a power game is being conducted by Judge Shalev-Gertel. The problem is that the game leaves a young 16 year old woman in remand. We can see the difference in conduct between the judges. Judge Drori left his house to arrive in court at eight in the evening in order to rule on the case. Judge Shalev-Gertel, on the other hand, refused to wait three minutes and sent a minor to spend Shabbat in remand.”

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