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Video clip backs defendant, not the police

Thursday, June 21, 2018, 18:27 Following the presentation several days ago by the defense of a video clip documenting the detention of a Jewish youth who had wanted to visit the Temple Mount, the State of Israel rescinded the indictment of the youth for aggravated assault of a policeman. The video clip contradicts both the police report and the indictment, which was filed with the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. In the indictment, which was filed approximately one year ago, the defendant is described as wanting to visit the Temple Mount while wearing tefilin on his head and refusing to acquiesce to the policemen’s demand to remove his tefilin. After his refusal the policemen asked the defendant to leave with them through the Mughrabi Gate, and he agreed. Then, according to the indictment, the defendant suddenly stopped walking with the policemen, clung to the Mughrabi Bridge railing, and refused to move. The policemen informed the defendant that he was detained. The policemen claim that during the attempt to detain the defendant, he forcibly bit the hand of one of the policemen, Officer Nitzan, “and caused a wound to his left wrist, to the extent that Officer Nitzan was forced to hit the defendant in order to release his hand.” In light of that description the youth was accused of aggravated assault against a policeman and the Jerusalem District Attorney’s office intended to demand an active prison term. One of the policemen present during the detention filled out a police action report and wrote that after the youth had started to proceed with the policemen to the exit gate, he suddenly stopped, started to breathe heavily, turned red, and refused the policeman’s repeated requests to leave with him. Also the policeman wrote that the defendant started to shove other policemen, and out of concern that he would escape over the bridge it was necessary to forcibly detain him. The policeman and the defendant fell to the ground and during the struggle, according to the policeman, the defendant bit his left hand. However the video clip presented by the defense which documents the detention shows a completely different situation. In the video clip the youth is seen standing near the policemen, when suddenly, for no apparent reason, two of the policemen forcibly grabbed him and pushed him over the bridge railing. The video clip shows that a third policeman joined them and together they overpowered the youth. Throughout the entire video clip there is no sign of violence on the part of the defendant. Following the presentation of the video clip by Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi the State of Israel decided to rescind the indictment against the youth and Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Einat Abman-Muller decided to cancel it. Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi, who is representing the defendant, stated that, “From the start we repeatedly said that my client’s only ‘crime’ was that he wanted to enter the Temple Mount wearing tefilin on his head. My client did not assault anyone but rather was brutally assaulted by policemen at the site. “Fortunately for us the video clip filmed by a passerby documents the incident and clearly supports my client’s claims. We will act with all legal means in order to prosecute to the full extent of the law the policemen who assaulted my client.”

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