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Remaining Yitzhar detainee in Umm al-Fahm case released – Update

Thursday, May 8, 10:19 On Wednesday, May 7 the Jerusalem Magistrate Court rejected the police request to extend for a third time, for five days, the remand of a Yitzhar resident who was detained – as was his wife and another couple from Yitzhar – on April 30 on suspicion that the family’s car was involved with a “Price Tag” incident in Umm al-Fahm approximately three weeks ago. The request was rejected due to the lack of progress in the investigation. The court ordered the detainee conditionally released. Initially the police requested a delay in carrying out the decision until Thursday, May 8 in order to file an appeal with the Jerusalem District Court on the release. On the morning of Wednesday, May 7 the police announced that they had changed their decision to file an appeal and that the detainee would be released within hours. In her decision Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Dana Cohen-Lekach ruled that, “After eight days of remand and investigation have passed, the level of suspicion is not high,” and ordered the detainee released. The detainee, who is married and the father of five children, was detained on April 30 as was his wife when they appeared for the third time for interrogation about the Umm al-Fahm “Price Tag” incident. Initially, in an unusual step, the police prevented them from meeting with attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who represented them on behalf of Honenu. The wife met with Ben-Gvir for the first time only 24 hours after she was detained, and raised serious claims concerning the manner of her interrogation and the great pressure under which her interrogator put her, apparently in order to force her to confess to acts to which she is not connected. She was released after two days of remand. The husband met with Ben-Gvir after his wife did. After she was released, she was summoned several times for interrogation. After the degrading and insulting treatment she received from the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police who handled the interrogations, on Wednesday, May 7, approximately 60 women and children from Yitzhar arrived with her for interrogation. The women were distanced from the police station, which was declared a closed military zone, and then they protested for several hours. The women left the site only when the interrogation was over. In response to the release of his client after eight days of remand attorney Ben-Gvir stated on behalf of Honenu that, “The release is in fact an admission by the police and the court that our claims are just and that Mr. Matuki was falsely detained. I am hopeful that this case will encourage introspection among the police who marked the wrong man and harmed him and his family for no reason, and also within the judicial system, which in my opinion gave unwarranted credence to the police requests [for remand extensions].”

For more information on the case see here.

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