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Police attempt to bypass court’s decision

Sunday, July 22, 20:52 Last Friday the suspect in a graffiti case was released to house arrest. The youth is accused of spray-painting graffiti on the residence of Hagit Ofran, an activist in the extreme left-wing organization “Peace Now” and the director of the organization’s Settlement Watch project. Despite the court’s decision the police attempted to prevent his release from remand, but in the end was required to release him. Last week graffiti reading “Price Tag”, “Hagit you’re dead” and more was found spray-painted at the entrance to Hagit Ofran’s residence. This was not the first time that Ofran’s house has been the target of graffiti. Approximately six months ago twice within one month’s time similar graffiti was spray-painted. Two days after the latest graffiti was discovered the suspect was arrested on the basis of his involvement with the previous incidents. The police interrogated the youth and extended his remand until last Friday. At the request of the family and Honenu a gag order was placed on the identity of the suspect and his parents, who are high-ranking individuals in the Israeli security forces. Despite the demand of the police to lift the gag order, the court has refused as of this time to do so. On Friday the suspect was brought to court for a “plaintiff’s affidavit” in which the police declared their intention to file an indictment against the youth on the actions of which he is suspected. Also the police requested that his remand be extended until the indictment is issued. Judge Haim Liran ruled that the suspect be released to house arrest and that there is no cause to keep him in remand. The police requested that the court delay carrying out the ruling until Sunday, however Judge Liran refused. Despite the court’s ruling the police officer present at the deliberation refused to sign the release order for the youth. The officer hurried to the district court in order to file an appeal on the magistrate court’s decision and simultaneously asked the policemen who brought the youth to the magistrate court to bring him to the district court. Honenu explains that in an instance in which the defendant is released to house arrest the police are generally prevented from returning a suspect to remand until the end of proceedings, which apparently they attempted to do, albeit in an illegal manner. Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger, who represented the suspect, went to the police station where he demanded the release of the detainee. After fairly lengthy negotiations and after the police filed an appeal with the district court and a deliberation was scheduled for Sunday, not the day which the police wanted, the police agreed to release the suspect to house arrest. Today the appeal was judged before District Court Judge Gila Kanfi-Steinitz, who rejected the appeal filed by the police and ordered that the defendant remain under house arrest and not be returned to remand. Today District Court Judge Gila Kanfi-Steinitz ruled on and rejected the appeal filed by the police and ordered that the defendant remain under house arrest and not be returned to remand.

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