Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 12:41. On Tuesday, January 20, the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court extended the remand of two rapid response squad members, one from Itamar and the other from the adjacent Rekhes HaGidonim hilltop community. The two were detained earlier the same day on suspicion of injuring rioting Arabs who attacked IDF forces in an incident near Itamar on January 3. On the morning of Wednesday, January 21, Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, who is representing the detainees, became aware that despite the fact that photographs of the detainees had been publicized in the social and news media in Israel and abroad, the police insisted on putting them in a police line-up. Kedar sent an urgent letter to the investigators in the Department of Nationalist Crime in the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police stating that the line-up is inadmissible.
“First and foremost, I would like to express my surprise at the detention of the two suspects who should be regarded as being ‘in uniform’ for all intents and purposes,” wrote Kedar. “I am certain that if the matter concerned either a soldier or a policeman, you would not have dared to take the action which you did.”
Kedar criticized the decision of the police to conduct a line-up despite the fact that the
photographs of the detainees had been publicized in the news media and on the Facebook pages of the village of Akrava, and especially since there is no disagreement as to the fact that the detainees were present at the incident. “Already during the deliberation, I turned the court’s attention to the problem inherent in filing the complaint, and even more so in the actions taken after it was filed … However, this morning I was shocked to receive a phone call informing us that a police line-up was about to take place. I would like to state here and now that such a line-up is completely inadmissible,” wrote Kedar.
According to Kedar, the conduct of the investigating unit calls into question the motives of the police. Kedar pointed out that the police did not even bother to examine the testimony of the detainees themselves, one of whom was on-duty patrolling in Itamar at the time of the incident and had already given testimony during interrogation two days after the incident.
“It is completely obvious that the investigation is being conducted in a completely one-sided manner, that the claims of the detainees are not being examined, and that the investigation is focusing on the outlandish complaint by rioting Arabs who, instead of being held in remand, are being protected by the Israeli Police,” wrote Kedar. He added, “The conduct of the unit [the Department of Nationalist Crime in the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police] in general and particularly in this case, is causing serious damage to the image of the security forces and sending a dangerous message to soldiers and other security forces.”
A deliberation is expected to take place at the Lod District Court on the appeal filed by Honenu attorney Adi Kedar on the remand extension of the two detainees.
Update: The police admitted that rioting Arabs attacked an IDF Hummer and attempted to lynch the driver in the above-mentioned January 3 incident. The police also admitted that in addition to the rapid response squad members soldiers fired in the air in response to the Arab mob.