Youths detained in Ma’aleh Adumim incidents

Monday, August 18, 2014, 11:20 An Arab who smashed the skull of a Jewish youth was released to house arrest whereas a Jewish youth accused of spray painting graffiti and assaulting an Arab will remain in remand until the end of proceedings against him. On Thursday, August 14 Jerusalem District Court Judge Oded Shaham ordered that a Ma’aleh Adumim resident accused of spray painting anti-Arab graffiti and attempting to assault an Arab in the city remain in remand until the end of proceedings against him. An additional defendant in the case was released to complete house arrest with an electronic handcuff. Currently Honenu is considering options for an appeal to the Supreme Court on the decision. The incidents in Ma’aleh Adumim occurred during the time between the kidnapping of the three youths in Gush Etzion on Thursday, June 12 and the discovery of their bodies on Monday, June 30. The two detainees and an additional youth are accused of spray painting graffiti against Arabs including specifically Hanin Zoabi, an Arab Member of Knesset, in several location in Ma’aleh Adumim. The two detainees, but not the additional youth, are also accused of twice approaching Arabs walking through Ma’aleh Adumim and attempting to verify whether they were Arabs or Bedouins, because they intended to assault Arabs. In one of the incidents, the detainees are suspected of first verifying that the individual was a Bedouin then telling him that, “We respect and love Bedouins,” and not injuring him. In the other incident they are suspected of not believing the Arab who claimed to be a Bedouin, beginning to chase him and then fleeing after they thought that he called the police. The indictment filed against the two detainees included the crimes of vandalizing public property and racially motivated attempted assault. The youth accused only of spray painting graffiti was released at the time of filing the indictment. The other two detainees remained in remand until the probation service gave an expert opinion on their case. On Thursday, August 14 a deliberation was held after the opinion was received by the court. Despite the fact that the probation service was of the opinion that the risk of the two detainees, neither one of whom has a criminal record, carrying out a violent act was low, and recommended that they be released from remand, the Attorney General’s office demanded that they be kept in remand until the end of proceedings against them. Honenu attorneys Naftali Wertzberger and Ze’ev Wolf are representing the detainees. Wolf presented to the court a series of cases in which Arabs who committed crimes significantly more serious were released from remand, even though some of them had a criminal record, including some with suspended sentences against them. Some of the Arabs were released from remand without an expert opinion from the probation service being given. The most remarkable case is that of an Arab by the name of Yusuf Huleisi who assaulted a Jewish youth near the Dung Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on the eve of the Shavuot holiday (Tuesday, June 3) and smashed his skull. The incident was recorded by security cameras and video clips were publicized in the media. The youth’s injury was life-threatening and he was hospitalized in intensive care. Despite Huleisi’s criminal record he was ordered released to house arrest by the Jerusalem District Court, even before an expert opinion was received from the probation service on his case. Wolf presented to the court similar recent cases, including those in which Arabs threw construction blocks at policemen from rooftops in the Old City of Jerusalem and were released from remand. From the prosecution, attorney Dafna Abromovitz from the Jerusalem District Attorney’s office said that she disagrees with the probation service’s recommendation and demanded that the two detainees be kept in remand until the end of proceedings. “When there is a sensitive and volatile security situation, and when we hear of expressions and acts of violence and racism, that is exactly the situation in which according to our methods we implement the default decision: remand of the defendants,” said Abromovitz. At the end of the deliberation Judge Oded Shaham ruled that one of the defendants would be released to house arrest under the severe conditions of wearing an electronic handcuff and posting 15,000 NIS bail and the other would be held in remand until the end of proceedings. Honenu attorney Ze’ev Wolf, who is representing the defendant who will remain in remand, severely criticized the court’s decision and stated in response, “There was no violence in this case. My client is a young man without a criminal record and also the probation service wrote a very favorable opinion recommending his release. “Beyond the fact that I reason that there are fundamental problems with base of evidence against my client, the court was stringent with him in a disproportional manner and rejected the recommendation of the probation service which they themselves ordered. This, despite the rulings which I presented, including the case of severe assault of a Jewish youth by an Arab in which the court released him without an expert opinion [from the probation service]. Therefore I recommend that my client file an appeal with the Supreme Court.”

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