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Youth probation service recommends release, court extends minors’ remand

Thursday, September 4, 2014, 16:22 The remand of four minors, none of whom have a criminal record, accused of setting on fire sofas at an Arab café in the village of Dura al-Qara has been extended again, despite the recommendation from the youth probation service to release them from remand. Honenu: “How can it be that an Arab who smashed a Jew’s head is released and these youths are still in remand?” The four youths were detained on Monday, August 25 on suspicion of setting on fire sofas at an Arab café in the village of Dura al-Qara on Monday, August 18, one day after a structure, which burned to the ground, was set on fire in the nearby Jewish outpost Ma’aleh HaAraba’a (near Beit El). On Thursday, August 28 an indictment was filed against the four youths despite their lack of a criminal record. Their remand was extended by one week in order to allow the youth probation service time to prepare an expert opinion on the youths. On Thursday, September 4 a deliberation took place in light of the recommendation of the youth probation service to release the youths from remand. Despite a particularly positive report from the youth probation service, and the fact that this is the first detention for all of the youths, Judge Rafael Carmel decided to extend their remand by five additional days and only then to rule on their case. Honenu notes in comparison that in the case of Yusuf Huleisi, an Arab with a criminal record accused of causing serious injury after he smashed the skull of a Jewish youth near the Dung Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on the eve of the Shavuot holiday (Tuesday, June 3) in an incident which was recorded by security cameras, video clips of which were distributed throughout the media, Huleisi was released by the Jerusalem District Court before an expert opinion was received from the probation service on his case. However when a Jewish resident of Ma’aleh Adumim who did not have a criminal record was accused of assaulting an Arab he was kept in remand until the end of proceedings against him. “Not since the days of the Expulsion from Gush Katif, when 14 year old girls who blocked roads sat in remand until the end of proceedings, have we seen the entire system so devoted against nationalist activists,” said Honenu. Honenu notes the call from Justice Minister Tzipi Livni who recently requested that the judges, “Join the fight she is leading against racism and incitement.” “The entire system is devoted to “eradicating racism”, but only from the Jewish side,” said Honenu. “There is intentional discrimination against Jews, otherwise how can one explain the fact that the same court, before receiving an expert opinion from the probation service, released an Arab with a criminal record, accused of smashing a Jewish youth’s skull, and regularly releases Arabs who have thrown fire bombs and rocks, but keep in remand Jewish minors, who do not have a criminal record, accused of setting sofas on fire?” Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, who is representing the youths, said in response, “The conduct of the police and the courts in cases of Jews accused of any sort of clash with Arabs has lately crossed the red line concerning rights being trampled. Without any connection to the circumstances of the case, we find it difficult to understand how one incident of arson [Arab cafe in Dura al-Qara] is investigated so quickly and so thoroughly while another incident of arson [structure used as residence in Jewish outpost Ma’aleh HaAraba’a] which occurred one day previously, which endangered lives, was not investigated at all. We hope that the court will quickly order the release of the minors and allow them to return to their routine lives and studies.”

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