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“Price Tag” detainee released from remand despite plaintiff’s affidavit

Saturday, June 7, 2014, 22:59 (after Shabbat) On Friday, June 6, shortly before Shabbat a 20-year-old resident of Yitzhar was released after spending approximately a week and a half in remand. The release came after the Lod District Court rejected the appeal filed by the police on the decision by the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court to release him from remand. On Thursday, June 5 the police filed a plaintiff’s affidavit in the Yitzhar resident’s case. He was detained on suspicion of involvement with a “Price Tag” incident, the details of which have not been cleared for publication. Despite the plaintiff’s affidavit Petah Tikva Magistrate Court Judge Merav Greenberg ruled that the evidence in the case was weak and ordered his release. The police requested a delay in carrying out the decision and hurried to file an appeal with the Lod District Court. On Friday, June 6 a deliberation was held under the auspices of Judge Varda Plaut. At the beginning of the deliberation the judge advised the police to withdraw the appeal, however interrogators from the Department of Nationalist Crime in the Central Unit of the Jerusalem Police, who are handling the case, insisted on holding a deliberation on the appeal. During the deliberation the officer in charge of interrogations from the Department of Nationalist Crime in the Central Unit of the Jerusalem Police claimed that the police interrogator who had appeared in the previous deliberation had given erroneous details to the court and therefore Magistrate Court Judge Greenberg decided to release the detainee. District Court Judge Plaut made it clear to the officer that her role in the appeal is to examine errors made by the court, not by the police. Additionally the officer claimed during the deliberation that the detainee danced and sang during his interrogations and refused to cooperate with the interrogators. In the end District Court Judge Plaut accepted Honenu attorney Yossi Lin’s plea. She rejected the appeal and reinforced the ruling of the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court, according to which the evidence in the case is extremely weak. “The court accepted our plea that the evidence in the case is weak,” said Lin in response. “The police appeal to the Lod District Court was also rejected, and it would have been best had it not been filed. It is a shame that instead of relying on professional considerations the police are working under public pressure and trying to build a case on the basis of shaky evidence, when it is obvious that they would not have filed an indictment based on such evidence in the absence of the pressure.” In another recent case a plaintiff’s affidavit was filed in the case of a 19-year-old Shomron resident who has been held in remand for more than two weeks by the GSS under severe conditions, during 10 days of which he was prevented from meeting with an attorney. The plaintiff’s affidavit in his case is based on circumstantial and weak evidence. In a similar case involving three youths accused of involvement with a “Price Tag” incident in Gush Halav the police filed an indictment based on weak circumstantial evidence. In an unusual step the Natzrat District Court ordered the detainees released to house arrest while the court examined the evidence in order to determine whether or not there were grounds to try the youths. “It appears that the Attorney General’s office and the police have decided on a new approach according to which indictments may be filed even without evidence – in order to make headlines,” said a representative of Honenu, which is providing the detainees with legal counsel. “If only we saw such efforts in the treatment of Arab terror and arson attacks on synagogues. Apparently the public pressure on the issue of “Price Tag” incidents, alongside the need for the various police and GSS units [which are devoted to investigating suspected “Price Tag” incidents] to justify the huge budgets which have been invested in them, has caused some people to make unwise decisions.”

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