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Missing detained youths have returned home safely

Tuesday, August 14, 10:47 The two minors who went missing after interrogation at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’ale Adumim have returned home safely. Despite the announcements made by the police that one of the detainees had been released at 13:00, the youth was still being held at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station without the knowledge of his parents or other members of his family, and in fact the family had been deceived concerning his release. Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger sent a letter protesting the thuggish conduct of the police to the commanding officer at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station. R., a 16.5 year old youth, was detained two days ago at approximately noon in the middle of a family vacation in the north of Israel on suspicion of involvement with the Kfar Jaba mosque arson in the Binyamin region. He was taken to the detention center at the Russian Compound in Israel, where he was interrogated concerning the above-mentioned incident. Almost 24 hours later the police informed Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger, who is representing R., that upon completion of the interrogation the youth would be released at approximately 13:00 and that they would not demand a remand extension in court. Please note that the law prohibits holding a minor in remand for over 24 hours without a court order for a remand extension. R.’s sister arrived at the Russian Compound to sign for his release, as the police requested, and was surprised to hear from the policeman at the reception desk that they have no detainee who fits the description of her brother. From there she traveled to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’ale Adumim in order to clarify what happened to her brother. At approximately 17:00 the chief investigative officer on site told her that her brother had already been released an hour and a half ago. From there she returned to the Russian Compound where she was told that policemen had dropped off R. at the entrance to Mevaseret Tzion. After several minutes the officer corrected himself and told her that R. had been dropped off at the entrance to Jerusalem. A., an additional youth detained yesterday and interrogated was also supposed to be released. His parents were informed that he had been released and had left the police station with R. and his parents. At the time R.’s parents were still on a family vacation in the north of Israel and his sister was still going back and forth between police stations searching for him. At 21:45 (Monday) the mystery was solved. Following the detention of A. interrogators at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station decided that they were interested in interrogating R. again, in the presence of A, however the law prohibits them from keeping a minor in remand longer that 24 hours without a court order. Their solution was to formally release R. and immediately following the release to detain him again, at which time the law would allow them to keep him in remand for an additional 24 hours. Apparently the interrogators sensed that there was a bit of a problem with their plan so they distracted R.’s family by sending them from one police station to another. As stated above, at approximately 17:00 R.’s sister arrived at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’ale Adumim where she was told that he had been released an hour earlier, and in any event, was no longer in remand there. In fact, R. and A., the other youth also detained on suspicion of involvement with the Kfar Jaba mosque arson, were held at the station almost until 20:00 and then released and taken to Jerusalem. From there they arrived home independently. R.’s parents, who were still in the north of Israel, filed a missing person report on their son at the local police station. Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger, who is representing R., sent an urgent letter to the commanding officer at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in which he demanded an explanation of the improper police conduct. “The repeated detention of the youth for the purpose of continuing the interrogation, particularly without my notification is an illegal attack on the freedom of a minor. I request an explanation of the thuggish conduct of the police, in the course of which I was deceived and the rights of a minor were violated,” wrote Wertzberger. Honenu refuses to quietly accept what they call “the KGB policies” of the police. A complaint on the deception of the family and their attorney by the policemen at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station has been filed with the Police Investigation Unit. Also they intend to file a civil suit against the Israeli Police for false detention.

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