More false detentions in supposed “price tag” cases

Monday, June 17, 8:32 On the morning of Sunday, June 16 police detectives from the Yehuda and Shomron Police accompanied by a Yassam (Special Unit) police team arrived at Givat Harel, a community in the Shilo region, in search of three residents suspected of involvement with a series of arson incidents in four locations in one night. Despite the fact that none of the three have a criminal record the police decided not the send them, as is customary, a summons to an interrogation. The three were detained with no advance warning in the presence of their wives and children – they all have large families – and informed only that they were suspected of arson. The detainees state that the situation was humiliating and bizarre. They also stated that they were detained just so that the police could say that they had detained suspects. Among the detainees, all between the ages of 30-42 and employed, are officers in the reserves. The detainees were taken to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’aleh Adumim where they were interrogated and released after several hours of interrogation. During interrogation they were told that they are suspected of involvement with a series of arson incidents which occurred on one night several weeks ago, including one in the village of Rantis near Rosh HaAyin and another in the village of Luban Al-Sharqiya, located on Route 60.near the community of Shilo. Additionally they were interrogated concerning involvement with an arson incident in the village of Sinjal, located in the Binyamin Region, approximately one year ago. “If it wasn’t sad, it would be funny,” said one of the detainees. “I have no idea how they chose us, particularly charging us with such baseless accusations.” The detainees denied all charges and cooperated with their interrogators. Two of the detainees received a “summons” to the interrogation on the way to the police station. “It was a genuinely humiliating situation,” said one of the detainees, aged 42, a father of six and a officer in active reserve duty. “They could have sent us a summons to the interrogation as is the norm and we would have without a doubt reported to it. The police arrived, asked me to identity myself and when I replied they informed me that I was being detained on suspicion of arson,” he added. “My children were very frightened by the sight of their father being detained and taken away in a police car. They should have at least avoided that degrading scene. The policemen also prevented me from informing my coworkers of my absence, which caused me great financial damage.” The detainee also said that throughout the day at school his children were very upset over the events of the morning and required assistance to calm down throughout the day. One of the other detainees, who also has a large family and until recently served in the reserves, was more decisive. “It appears that someone wants very much to produce results in the “price tag” incident cases and is not refraining from any means to that end,” he criticized and explained. “From the beginning to the end it seemed that the interrogation was for appearances’ sake only. The interrogator didn’t know my place of residence, Givat Harel, and repeatedly referred to me as a resident of Shilo. He couldn’t even spell the names of the villages in which the arson incidents were carried out.” According to the detainee the interrogation was probably part of a delegitimization campaign of the entire community, in which all of the structures have a demolition order on them and which is classified as illegal. “It is much easier to damage a community which has been portrayed as lawless and violent. Who knows? Maybe that’s the idea,” he added. The feeling that the interrogation was only for the sake of having a case to record in the court records is shared by the other detainees. The three detainees consulted with Honenu attorney Adi Kedar and were released on bail after interrogation. They are considering filing suit against the Israeli Police for false detention and injury to liberty.

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