Detained assaulted worshippers unconditionally released

Thursday, January 5, 2017, 16:12 On the afternoon of Thursday, January 5, the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court unconditionally released the ten Jewish worshippers who had been detained at Joshua’s Tomb (Kever Yehoshu’a Ben Nun) ) in the Arab village of Kifil Haras (Timnat Hares), near Ariel in the Shomron the previous night. Honenu Attorney Chai Haber represented the detainees.
Judge Oded Moreno accepted Haber’s opinion and rejected the police demand to distance the detainees from the Shomron for 60 days and for 2,000 NIS bail. He ruled that there is no reasonable suspicion that they will violate the law. The judge also refused the police demand to delay carrying out the decision.
During the deliberation the police representative stated that an Arab mob threw rocks at the worshippers and at the IDF forces summoned to the scene by the worshippers. He admitted that none of the Arabs had been detained and also mentioned that the mob had caused damage to the worshippers’ cars.
Haber demanded that the police representative confirm that entrance to Joshua’s Tomb is not prohibited. The police representative gave an evasive response. Judge Moreno halted the deliberation and ordered the police representative to verify the matter and reply to the court. After the recess the police representative admitted that there is no legal prohibition to enter the village. However he repeated his claim that the entrance of Jews to the site is a public nuisance and a disturbance of the public peace. To Haber’s question as to what the public nuisance is and to which public the police is referring, the police investigator replied that, “I am here and so are you.”
At the end of the deliberation Judge Moreno ruled that there is not a sufficient likelihood that a violation was carried out, and therefore there is no cause to impose restrictive conditions on the worshippers. The judge also rejected a police demand to delay carrying out the decision.
“A fundamental principle of penal law is the principle of legality,” wrote Judge Moreno. “In accordance with this principle there is no violation and no penalty for the violation unless they have been determined by law. … Therefore everything that has not been forbidden by law is permitted.
“I thoroughly studied the statutes to which the petitioner (the police) refers and my opinion is that in this matter justice is found in the claims by the defense attorney,” added the judge, who described one by one the violations which the police claimed the worshippers had committed and ruled that none of them were present in this instance. Judge Moreno stressed that the police agree that entrance to the village of Kifil Haras is not prohibited to Israeli citizens.
Honenu Attorney Chai Haber welcomed the decision and said that, “If tomorrow Jews are assaulted in Yafo, will the police detain them and say that it is dangerous to enter that area? As long as there is no legal prohibition to enter a specific area, the police and army must protect citizens who come to pray. The security forces exist for the purpose of detaining terrorists and criminals, not individuals who did not violate any law and who all in all asked to realize their right to pray.”
Honenu: “There is a worrisome trend of attempts by the police to distort the law in order to realize its policy of easily detaining Jews instead of coping with Arab assailants and the source of terror attacks. We are pleased with the decision by the court and hope that the police will draw the correct conclusions.”
On the night of Thursday, August 25, 2016 a similar incident occurred in which 13 worshippers were assaulted near Joshua’s Tomb by rock-throwing Arabs and then detained by police. The Petah Tikva Magistrate Court distanced them from Yehuda and Shomron for 60 days.

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