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Minors assaulted on moped ride, spent night in remand

Wednesday, June 5, 14:12 Two high school yeshiva students on a moped trip in the north of Israel attacked by an Arab mob ended up in remand on suspicion of conspiring to carry out a “price tag” incident. On the morning of Wednesday, June 5 the two detainees were released after spending a night in remand. Honenu states: The political echelons and the police have lost all proportions. On the evening of Tuesday, June 4 two youths, both minors and students at the K’far Hassidim Yeshiva, set off on a moped ride in the area of the yeshiva. At five minutes to eight as they passed the entrance to the village of Ibtin, located on the road the youths were traveling, a group of Arabs who had arrived in two cars stopped them. Dozens of Arabs gathered, beat the youths and damaged their mopeds. According to the youths older Arabs who were on the scene prevented the Arab youth from injuring them more seriously. The Arabs, who choked, kicked and shoved the yeshiva students, claimed that the latter had come to burn down the village mosque. The students phoned the emergency police number and reported the assault. Only after half an hour and five phone calls did a police car from the Zevulun Police arrive at the scene. To the surprise of the students the policemen brought them into the police station and kept them in remand overnight. Other policemen remained on the scene to question the Arab assailants, none of whom were detained. The students were taken to the police station where they were separated until two in the morning. They were not informed of why they were detained. At two in the morning GSS interrogators arrived and questioned the detainees for 45 minutes about their actions in the area of Itbin. From the manner in which the detainees were interrogated they realized that they were suspected of conspiring to commit a crime; the interrogators also claimed that their hands smelled of gasoline. Following that interrogators from the Zevulun Police furthur interrogated the detainees. In response to the detainees’ request to speak to an attorney from Honenu one of the interrogators replied with vulgar and humiliating insults. It should be noted that a short time after the detention Honenu attorney Adi Kedar attempted to speak to the detainees on his own initiative and was refused by the police interrogators. In the end the detainees were allowed to speak to Honenu attorney Kedar, and then were interrogated for several more hours. In the morning the policemen at the station informed them that they would be released on condition of several days of house arrest and a restraining order banning them from all Arab villages in the area for a month. The detainees were forced to accept the conditions and were released to their homes. The students’ parents, who arrived at the police station in order to be with their sons, were extremely agitated. “I am absolutely shocked by the conduct of the police. The youths, who were in a crisis situation and in definite danger, regarded the police as the correct address for receiving assistance and instead their innocent trip turned into a situation in which they were treated as criminals, in handcuffs and in remand conditions which didn’t even allow their parents to enter the interrogation with them because of a police claim of security classification,” said the mother of one of the youths. She added, “This is simply a scandal. They confused who the criminal is and who the victim is. It is really incredible that this happened in our country.” Honenu, which handled the students’ case, strongly criticizes the police conduct. “The political echelons and the police have lost all proportions in dealing with “price tag” incidents. The persecution by politicians and police in conjunction with the incitement by the media turns the attacked into assailants and victims into criminals. The policy of the police, on one hand ignoring daily murder attempts by Arabs and on the other operating with a heavy hand against youths about whom there is a great doubt concerning their involvement with vandalism, leads to confusion which has taken, and will take, its toll in Jewish blood.”

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