Police libel: incident blown out of proportion

Wednesday, December 5, 11:39 An announcement by the police of the detention of three suspects in a vehicular arson case erroneously mentioned that an improvised weapon was seized. Honenu reports: a clarification revealed that it was a toy gun. Additionally the police prevented the detainees from speaking to an attorney. Three Jewish youths were detained Sunday night in the area of Hevron on suspicion of setting fire to an Arab car in the village of Daharia near Hevron. Next to the car graffiti reading “Price Tag” and “Mazal Tov Efi” was found. The youths were detained in a car on Route 60 a short distance from the site and taken to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’ale Adumim for interrogation. A spokesperson for the Yehuda and Shomron branch of the Israeli Police announced the detention. In the announcement it was mentioned that recently the police carried out a widespread investigation of suspects potentially involved with ideologically motivated criminal incidents and, in continuation of the investigation, last night several suspects were detained on suspicion of “involvement with ideologically motivated crimes”. Additionally the items found on the detainees in their car were mentioned in the announcement, including, erroneously, an improvised M16 rifle. Honenu, which is representing the detainees, quickly examined the “finds” of the Israeli Police, and were astounded by the results. “After a brief examination, it was obvious that the rifle was a plastic toy that doesn’t fire anything and doesn’t even make a sound. The police announcement is contemptible because it is meant to point out the “accomplishments” of the police through lies and reviling the detainees without a trial,” say sources in Honenu and add that, “The police present a picture according to which they invest a great deal of resources in investigating “price tag” incidents but their rate of success in solving cases approaches zero. In light of that, the police make mountains out of molehills and it is a real shame that they do it through lies and trickery.” Honenu reports that they are considering taking legal steps in response to the libelous announcement by the police.

Additionally Honenu claims that attorney Betzalel Smotrich, who arrived at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’ale Adumim in order to meet with the detainees on behalf of Honenu was prevented by the police from meeting with the detainees even though the magistrate court had not issued any warrant granting the police authorization to do so. Honenu filed an urgent request with the district court to allow the meeting. A spokesman for Honenu stated that “The impression given by the course of events is that the police are trying very hard to ‘maintain’ their ‘accomplishments’ and to intensify them, even if it is done through distorting reality and violating the law.”

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