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Stringent restrictions imposed on Amona protesters

Thursday, December 1, 2016, 15:08 Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Keren Miller ordered the release of two minors detained on the night of Wednesday, November 30, on suspicion of participating in a protest at the Ofra Junction against the destruction of Amona. Judge Miller imposed strict restrictions on them and explained that the reasons for the conditions are the ideological motivation of the protest and situation in the region due to the planned evacuation of Amona. The police stated that the two minors were detained in Ofra after a protest at the Ofra Junction during which the road was blocked with rock and burning tires. Judge Miller ruled that there is not a reasonable suspicion that the detained minors had placed rocks and tires, and rather they are suspected of only participation in the protest and violating the public peace. During their interrogation the two minors, aged 14 and 15, denied being involved with the protest. During the deliberation Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi, who represented the minors, stated that contrary to the law both of them were strip-searched by the Binyamin Police and that they are due compensation from the police for undergoing such a search. Judge Miller refused Hajbi’s demand for the police representative to clarify the matter during the deliberation. Judge Miller accepted most of the demands made by the police and ordered one of the minors to remain under complete house arrest for five days and post 1,000 NIS bail. Both of them are distanced from the Binyamin region, from Hizme to Eli, for one month. Judge Miller justified the stringent conditions by the fact that the minors were detained at an ideologically motivated protest and also by the situation caused by the planned destruction of Amona: “The accusations constitute cause to consider [the detainees] to be dangerous, certainly in light of recent occurrences during which there has been profound public controversy over the evacuation of Amona.” Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi, who represented the minors, has already filed an appeal on the decision with the Jerusalem District Court, which has not yet scheduled a deliberation on the request. Hajbi stated that, “The demand for a distancing order is delusional and contrary to the Criminal Procedure (Arrests) Law. It should be obvious to everyone that if the suspects were not settlers the demands would not have been made. The entire aim of the demands is to “cleanse” the area of Amona and Ofra in preparation for the destruction, and that is a shame.” Honenu stated that the investigation of the minors for serious crimes despite the fact that they participated in only a road-blocking, and the demand for stringent conditions indicates that there has been a decision to treat harshly the individuals protesting the scheduled destruction of Amona. Honenu: “The Attorney General’s office and the Israeli Police have significantly increased their opposition to the protesters striving to save Amona. These are unusual legal steps reminiscent of the law enforcement system’s mode of operation in handling protesters of the Expulsion from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. Then provisions of law and legal precedents became mere suggestions, and minors found themselves held in remand until the end of proceedings for blocking a street. In many cases of crime and even terror we do not find such efficiency and alacrity in the system. Unfortunately certain judges, at the time of the Expulsion from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron and today, are toeing the line with the scare tactics of the Attorney General’s office and the police.”

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