Judge criticized police conduct, detainee released

Monday, February 23, 2015, 14:34 On Tuesday, February 17, the Israeli Civil Administration and the Israeli Police came to the Shiloh Bloc in the Binyamin region to destroy structures, including residential structures, in three hilltop communities. Clashes broke out between policemen and residents protesting the destruction. An Adei Ad resident was detained by border policemen, taken to the Sha’ar Binyamin Police Station for interrogation, and several hours later unconditionally released.
Five days later a Jewish youth approximately 18 years old was detained on Sunday, February 22 for allegedly threatening an employee of the Israeli Civil Administration as homes in Givat Geula were being destroyed in the above-mentioned incident. He is suspected of saying to the employee that, “Just as you destroyed our homes we will make sure that your home is also destroyed,” and adding, “I know who you are.”
The youth was taken to the Sha’ar Binyamin Police Station and interrogated on suspicion of threatening a public servant. In the evening the police interrogators offered to release him on condition of a restraining order banning him from entering the Binyamin region for 15 days. He refused the release condition and was kept in remand.
On the morning of Monday, February 23 the youth was brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. Suddenly the police decided to demand significantly more severe release conditions: a 60-day ban on entering the Binyamin region, five days of house arrest and 1,000 NIS bail.
Honenu attorney David HaLevi, who represented the youth, pleaded that the police conduct was drastic and inappropriate. HaLevi noted that the release conditions were suddenly changed and claimed that the police were trying to penalize the youth for his refusal to sign on more lenient release conditions at the police station.
Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Gioia Skappa-Shapiro accepted HaLevi’s plea and ruled that the youth would be subject to a 15-day ban from the Binyamin region as the police originally requested. Additionally Judge Skappa-Shapiro ruled that the youth would pay 1,000 NIS bail.
“The viewpoint of the [police], that there was cause to set more severe release conditions because of the [youth]’s refusal to accept the release condition which the [police] requested, is unacceptable,” wrote Judge Skappa-Shapiro in her decision.
Honenu attorney David HaLevi responded, “My client was released by a decision which speaks for itself. The conduct of the police was scandalous, especially in light of the fact that the release conditions requested in court were more severe than those previously requested, only because my client refused to be released on the original more lenient conditions at the police station. The court also leveled criticism of this decision, indicating that the conditions were determined as a sort of penalty for his refusal to be released on the conditions which were offered to him at the police station and not for needs of the investigation.”

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