Rights of detained minors severely violated

Monday, December 22, 2014, 21:40 Five youths, four of them minors, were detained on the night of Saturday, December 20 (after Shabbat) on suspicion of conspiring to commit a crime after policemen saw them sitting in a public park in the Musrara neighborhood of Jerusalem near several rocks. According to the police investigators the youths intended to throw the rocks at Arabs driving by on the adjacent street. Additionally two knives were found in the possession of one of the youths. The youths deny all charges. Honenu reports that even though the youths, the youngest of whom is 13 years old, were detained at approximately 23:00 on Saturday night, they were interrogated only at 5:00 the following morning. Also their rights were violated as they were kept in handcuffs in the interrogation room. Despite the fact that the police announced their intent to release the youths in court they were brought to the deliberation only in the afternoon on Sunday, December 21. They were released to house arrest, however after they were released but before they actually left the police station the youths were interrogated again, this time on suspicion of writing graffiti on a wall in the police station. As a result the youths were kept awake for approximately 36 hours straight. During the deliberation the police representative claimed that the youths were Lehava (The Organization for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land) activists. The youths countered that they had never been members of Lehava and in response the investigator withdrew his claim. Apparently it was an additional attempt – see here and here for recent cases of falsely accused Lehava members successfully defended by Honenu – by the police to falsely link Lehava to criminal incidents. Honenu attorney Sinaiya Moses-Harizi represented the five youths and stated that, “The basis for the claim suspecting them of conspiring to harm Arabs because they are members of Lehava – which not only is completely legitimate [membership in Lehava], but it is not clear at all on what that claim is based – is not clear.”

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