All detainees from questionable wholesale detention released

Tuesday, February 22, 2022, 9:33 On Monday, February 21, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ordered the conditional release from remand of eight of the nineteen detainees being held in connection to an incident that occurred in Hawara several weeks previously. They were all detained on the night of February 15, and ten of them were released the following day. A plaintiff’s affidavit was filed against the last detainee, a 16-year-old minor. Honenu Attorneys Nati Rom and Adi Keidar represented the detainees at the hearing.

On Tuesday (February 22) Jerusalem District Court Judge Ilan Sela conditionally released the minor and also reduced the duration of the house arrest of the other released detainees. It will end this Thursday. In his decision, Judge Sela cited the lengthy period of time – several weeks – that had passed since the incident and also the minor’s young age. Honenu Attorneys David HaLevi and Nati Rom represented the minor and the other detainees at the hearing.

Honenu Attorney HaLevi welcomed the decision: “The court accepted all of our claims and ordered the release of our client. The decision was completely necessary. From the start there were no grounds to demand his detention, and certainly not to demand his detention in the framework of a plaintiff’s affidavit. He is a 16-year-old minor without a criminal record, and even according to the State of Israel his part in the incident was marginal and negligible. In this situation, we think that the decision was correct and just.”

Honenu Attorney Rom added: “We are pleased that after the detention of 19 youths in a well-publicized operation, they have all been released. The investigating unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police unfortunately admitted in court that they are not investigating the reports of rock-throwing at the youths prior to the alleged incident. We can only regret that. We are pleased with the results and we hope that these large-scale detentions without evidence will stop.”

On the night between Tuesday, February 15 and Wednesday, February 16, detectives from the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police detained 19 Jewish youths in Yitzhar and other locations in the Shomron. The youths were taken to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron District Police Station and interrogated on suspicion of attacking residents of Hawara and damaging their property after the said residents threw rocks at them. The youths were driving in a caravan of cars in honor of a friend who had been released from prison and were attacked by rock-throwing Arabs as they drove through Hawara, on a road used by Jewish drivers traveling to Jewish communities on a daily basis, during all hours of the day and night.

After the hearing on Monday, Honenu Attorneys Nati Rom and Adi Keidar made statements:

Honenu Attorney Rom: “After a well-publicized detention of 19 youths in an operation the likes of which I do not recall, it turned out that what we had claimed from the start was correct, and that there is no evidence connecting the youths to illegal acts. Also, the representative of the investigating unit admitted that the complaint by the youths that Arabs had thrown rocks at them was not examined at all! It is also not clear why the Israel Police decided to keep the detained youths in remand for an additional day despite the fact that yesterday they had already intended to release them.”

Honenu Attorney Keidar: “Another investigation and more detentions based on selective law enforcement in Yehuda and Shomron. An incident which began with Arabs throwing rocks at Jews and the detention of almost 20 Jews, is ending with one indictment, and even that is doubtful. I am sure that after we examine the evidence we will see the flaws that will result in his release. Eighteen suspects who were falsely detained were released without being indicted. This is a very serious false detention, and I hope that the last minor remaining in remand will be released after we file an appeal.”

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