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Minors suspected of “Price Tag” incidents interrogated in absence of parents, unnecessarily detained

Monday, May 5, 12:23 In two separate incidents a group of Jewish girls and a group of Jewish boys were detained on Sunday, May 4 on suspicion of involvement with “Price Tag” incidents.

A group of three girls, minors aged 14-17, all Shomron residents were detained on Sunday, May 4 in the afternoon at David’s Tomb in the Old City of Jerusalem. The girls are suspected of spitting at a group of Christian priests who walked past them. As they were being detained an Israeli flag with the words “Price Tag” written on it was found in one of their bags .

The group of boys, all of them also minors, the youngest of whom is 13 years of age, were detained on Sunday, May 4 by the Central Unit of the Jerusalem Police on suspicion of spray painting graffiti – “Price Tag”, “Kahane Tzadak” – on a building in the Jewish community of Telz-Stone (Kiryat Ye’arim). Honenu reports that in violation of the law the police prevented the parents from being present while their minor children were being interrogated.

The police intended to request a conditional release for all of the minors, which could have be done at the police station on the same day they were detained, however police officers ordered that they remain in remand overnight in a detention center and only in the morning be brought to court for a deliberation on their cases. All of the youths, aged 13-17, spent the night in remand.

At the Jerusalem Magistrate Court deliberations on the two groups took place on the morning of Monday, May 5. Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger represented the boys who were suspected of involvement with the Telz-Stone incident. They posted a low bail and were released by the court to a three-day house arrest, despite the demand by the police for a one-week house arrest. The girls were released on condition of a restraining order banning them from Mt. Zion until after the Pope’s scheduled visit there in approximately three weeks. Attorney Moriah Sassoon represented the girls on behalf of Honenu.

In response to their release Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger said that, “The obsession with “Price Tag” incidents has turned 13 year old youth into criminals kept in remand overnight. The effects of such a night will accompany them for their entire lives. Because of the nationalist nature of “Price Tag” incidents the police, the Attorney General’s office and also the courts concern themselves with groups of kids and graffiti on walls instead of working to apprehend genuine criminals and lawbreakers. In a deliberation this morning Judge Dana Cohen-Lekach devoted a great deal of time to lecturing the parents of the minors and called on them to educate their children with humanitarian messages. With all due respect, that is not the role of the court. Unfortunately the obsession with “Price Tag” incidents goes beyond all logic and all judgment.”

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