”The new investigative staff for ‘price tag’ incidents has lost all sense of proportion”

Sunday, November 6, 2011, 15:22 Three Jewish youths were detained this morning by detectives from the National Unit of Serious and International Crime Investigations. The three, residents of Hevron, Yad Binyamin and northern Israel, were detained at various sites and brought to the National Unit of Serious and International Crime Investigations offices in Lod. The youths had been detained approximately eight months ago, two days after the murder of five members of the Fogel family, on the main highway in Wadi Ara. During a routine search policemen found bottles of gasoline in their car and brought the youths in to the police station. The three explained that they were on their way to visit rabbis’ graves in the northern region of Israel and that the bottles of gasoline were kept in the car in case they ran out of gas. After a short interrogation the three were unconditionally released. Several days later the investigative file was transferred to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police, and they summoned the owner of the car to an interrogation. Approximately two months ago detectives from the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police detained the driver of the car for an additional interrogation, at which he again denied all charges and was released. The driver is a Hevron resident, whose brother’s murderers were released in the framework of the Shalit Deal. During the past few weeks, with the transfer of “price tag” cases to the special investigative staff set up by the National Unit of Serious and International Crime Investigations, the investigators decided to summon the owner of the car for an additional interrogation. This morning, eight months after the first detention, the three youths were detained again, this time by the National Unit of Serious and International Crime Investigations, and the investigators are currently requesting that the court extend their remand on suspicion of crimes for which they had already been investigated then. Honenu reports that, “The new investigative staff for what are now called ‘price tag’ incidents has lost all sense of proportion. The police are conducting themselves in a draconian manner. It is illogical for the change in investigative staff to be cause for detaining people again, when all of the claims against them were proven baseless. We hope that the court will put the police in their place and release the three youths.” Sources close to the detainees reported that “These are desperate steps taken by the new investigative staff, which must justify its existence and the huge budget allocated to it. The National Unit of Serious and International Crime Investigations is looking for more media headlines in order to misrepresent the detainees as suspects in “price tag” incidents.”

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