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Minors held under inhumane conditions

Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 14:22 An indictment has been filed in the case of the minors accused of involvement with vehicular arson. Two 15-year old minors are accused of setting on fire vehicles in Kfar Yafia in reaction to the terror attack at the Sarona Complex in Tel Aviv in which four Jews were murdered and others injured. A third minor is accused of failure to prevent a crime. The security violations of which they were suspected, and were the grounds for not allowing them to meet with an attorney, do not appear in the indictment. According to the indictment filed on Tuesday, July 19, in the case of the two minors, they decided to set cars on fire in Kfar Yafia after hearing about the terror attack in the Sarona Complex in Tel Aviv. The following day, late at night, they left Migdal HaEmek wearing hooded sweatshirts and gloves, carrying spray-paint and a bottle of gasoline in a backpack. They walked into the town until they arrived at a parking lot and climbed over the fence surrounding it. The indictment continues: One of the accused spray-painted graffiti reading, “revenge for the Tel Aviv murders”, “revenge” and “price tag”, on three trucks and then set a parked car on fire. As a result of the blaze a second car caught fire and was partially damaged. Then they returned to Migdal HaEmek. The two minors are also accused of disrupting the investigation because they threw the backpack, the spray-paint, and the empty gasoline bottle into the garbage. A third minor is accused of failure to prevent a crime. According to the indictment, one of the other two minors asked him to stay awake, keep watch on the path leading to Kfar Yafia and if they did not come back within two hours, to announce their absence. The Attorney General’s office is demanding that the two minors suspected of arson be held in remand until the end of proceedings. The third minor was released to house arrest on Friday, July 15. All three minors are being represented by Honenu Attorneys Adi Kedar and Lior Bar-Zohar, who reported that the minors admitted to the act only after aggressive interrogations, threats and deprivation of sleep and therefore the court should examine whether or not the admission is admissible. Bar-Zohar: “The minors were held in inhumane conditions and interrogated for most of the day. The most serious violation of which they were accused, belonging to a terror organization, does not appear in the indictment. This and other violations were initially mentioned in order to provide cause for preventing the defendants from meeting with an attorney, and they were prevented. There is a great concern that the defendants admitted to acts which they had not carried out, because the admissions were forced out of them by intensive ISA interrogations, during which their rights were violated and they were not allowed to meet with an attorney. The minors described to their attorneys what they endured during ISA interrogations. One minor told the attorneys that, “An interrogator grabbed my head and lifted me up,” and also that he was verbally abused, including being cursed, called a “terrorist” and threatened that he is “going to see what a real ISA interrogation is”. Additionally he was deprived of sleep for the first few nights of his remand, at which time he had not yet met with an attorney, until he admitted to the violation attributed to him. The interrogation during which he gave his admission lasted until the small hours of the night, in violation of the Youth Law. The second minor described similar treatment, including scathing and vulgar language directed towards him and his family by the interrogators. The interrogators lied to him and told him that the yeshiva at which he studies had been closed because of his detention, and would not be re-opened unless he admitted to the violation attributed to him. He said that, “One interrogator pulled my head back while another screamed in my ear. They threatened me by saying that if I didn’t confess then I wouldn’t be allowed to pray and I wouldn’t receive food.” Receiving other basic needs was also conditioned on admitting to the act. Additionally one of the interrogators spit at him and he was interrogated for long hours every day until he confessed. Following the minors’ descriptions of their interrogations Honenu Attorney Adi Kedar sent a sharply worded letter of complaint to the Department of Nationalist Crime in the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police, which is handing the investigation of the case. Kedar demanded that the minors be examined by a doctor and a psychiatrist. One of the minors is suffering from insomnia as a result of the grueling interrogations. Another serious incident is described in a separate complaint. After they were allowed to meet with their attorneys, one of the minors requested the opportunity to state during interrogation his complaints on the humiliating treatment, violence and sleep deprivation which caused him to admit to the violation. According to the complaint filed by Kedar, after the minor stated his complaints, the interrogator from the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police who interrogated him informed him that if he wanted his statements to be recorded, he would have to return to the ISA facility for interrogation by ISA interrogators. The minor, who feared returning to the ISA facility, asked the interrogator to delete his statements and not to document his complaints, and that is what he reports was done. “To my astonishment, according to my client, the interrogator did indeed delete the statements,” wrote Kedar. “However I am absolutely certain that the interrogator did not do so, because there is a clear and obvious requirement to document everything that occurs in interrogation rooms. Everything that happens, whatever it is, must be documented and described.”

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