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Supreme Court overturns decision, keeps terrorist in remand


Rozen (L), Honenu Atty. Bleicher (R); Photo credit: Honenu

Please click here for a list of posts relating to cases in which Honenu provided legal counsel to victims of antisemitic attacks in Jerusalem.

Sunday, July 25, 2021, 15:04 Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher: “It is good that the serious error of releasing a terrorist has been corrected by the Supreme Court. We hope that the statements of Justice George Karra on the subject will be a guiding principle for the judicial system in cases from the 2021 riots currently being tried in courts throughout Israel, which will prevent the release of terrorists.”

On Friday, July 23, the Supreme Court overturned a decision by Jerusalem District Court Judge Miriam Lomp, accepted the appeal filed by the Office of the Attorney General and ordered the continuation of the remand of Muhammad Khalaf, who is charged with the late April attack on Eli Rozen in the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood. The indictment describes the incident: During the Arab rioting in Jerusalem approximately two and a half months ago, dozens of rioters gathered in the area of the attack and set a dumpster on fire. At that time, an adult Jew, Rozen, finished prayers at the Tomb of Shimon HaTzadik and started to walk to his home in the Shmuel HaNavi neighborhood, with his dog, past the rioters. When some of the rioters noticed him, they shouted, “Outsider, outsider!”, “Settler, settler!”, and “Beat him, beat him!”

When the rest of the rioters heard the calls and noticed that the intended victim had a Jewish appearance, they threw rocks at him. The victim tried to escape, but the rioters ran towards him, completely surrounded him, and then punched him, kicked him, beat him with wooden clubs, threw large rocks and other objects at him, and used an electric shocker on him. The rioters threw him to the ground and continued to beat him. Khalaf shoved the victim with his shoulder and punched the victim. The victim suffered from bruises, swelling, cuts, and three broken vertebrae.

The hearing itself was held before the Supreme Court, sitting as an appellate court, on Wednesday, July 21. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher accompanied Rozen, who asked the court to leave the terrorist in remand until the end of proceedings. Prior to the hearing, Bleicher, who is assisting Rozen with realizing his rights as a victim of terror, stated: “This was a shocking attempted murder. We will demand that the terrorist be detained until the end of proceedings. Terror must be eradicated. Every terrorist must know that we will follow him through all proceedings and at every hearing.”

The decision by Judge Lomp that was overridden by the Supreme Court was to release Khalaf, one of the main perpetrators of the attack, to house arrest with an electronic anklet, but without receiving a recommendation from the parole board. Among other justifications, Judge Lomp stated, “There is difficulty in determining the level of danger the respondent poses, in light of his problematic viewpoints, as was demonstrated in a hearing before me today. However, despite this, I am of the opinion that the alternative [house arrest] suggested is able to negate his likelihood of posing danger, because it is far from the centers of confrontation.”

Judge Lomp added that the terrorist had been in remand for two months “and one must hope that his stay in remand set clear limits for him. Moreover, [the holiday of] Eid al-Adha is fast approaching.” She referred to his criminal record, but added that currently he is a factory owner who employs Jews among his workers, and concluded that “although it is impossible to understand his actions and his momentary stumble, and one must unequivocally condemn the act, however with consideration for his normative lifestyle until now, and because it was a single misstep in thirteen years, I found it correct to order his house arrest with an electronic anklet.”

Rozen reacted to the decision: “I am just completely shocked by the decision to release him to house arrest. He is the central terrorist in the entire story. He really attacked me, punched me in the face, pulled my hair. He simply tried to kill me. Everyone should be shocked by this, because today it’s me and tomorrow it will be someone else. And we live together; there are no exceptions. This is just terrible, really shocking. It is scary that every terrorist like him, who tried to kill, two-three months later is released as if he did nothing. And they give him a prize for coming to murder a Jew.”

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing Rozen expressed disbelief over Judge Lomp’s decision: “We are dealing with a terrorist here, who with other terrorists tried to kill Eli. They brutally attempted to murder him. Everyone has seen photographs of the attack, and it is simply unthinkable and inexplicable that there is an intention to release this terrorist. How can [Judge Lomp] look at the citizens of Israel in the eye? What kind of security do they have when a terrorist is released to house arrest? Who is the guarantor that he won’t go out and murder a Jew? The terrorist is able to go out and do it again.

“We were in court so that Justice George Karra would see us and know that we will not accept this situation, that a terrorist like this will be released. Eli spoke at the hearing and expressed his shock before the justice. We hope that the court will come to their senses, overturn the decision of the Jerusalem District Court, and keep the terrorist in prison. We will continue our efforts, because this terrorist should be in prison for many years.”

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