More detainees and interrogations in Gush Etzion fire bomb case

Thursday, September 27, 18:20 Police won’t let up in Gush Etzion fire bomb case. Children and youth from the community of Bat Ayin have been subjected to a long string of detentions and interrogations. Honenu: There is a complete lack of proportions here. Since the incident Arabs have thrown approximately 70 fire bombs.
A month and a half after a fire bomb (Molotov cocktail) was thrown at an Arab taxi on Route 60 near the Gush Etzion community of Bat Ayin, the police continue to detain and interrogate minors . The Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police, who are in charge of the investigation, detained three minors this week and summoned for interrogation over six children, the youngest of whom is an 11 year old boy. The emergency management headquarters of the Yehuda and Shomron region report that since the incident near Bat Ayin Arabs have thrown approximately 70 fire bombs at Jews throughout Yehuda and Shomron.
Previously three minors from Bat Ayin aged twelve and thirteen had been detained on suspicion of involvement with the fire bomb incident. They spent five days in remand and were released to their homes. The police announced that the investigation was not complete and that some of the youths were still suspects in the case. Also the police stated that they had found a sample of one of the youth’s DNA at the site. Residents of Bat Ayin assert that the claim shows a lack of seriousness on the part of the police. “The site in which the police searched for evidence is a play area for many of the children of Bat Ayin. There is no significance to their finding a DNA sample of one of the children. If the police search further they will be surprised to find DNA samples of dozens of children from the community,” say residents familiar with the children.
In a more recent detention approximately two weeks ago two brothers from Bat Ayin were detained when their father was driving with them in Jerusalem. An unmarked police car driven by plain-clothes police detectives passed and blocked their car while they were in the middle of the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem. After the police identified the brothers they were detained and taken to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’ale Adumim. After several hours of interrogation during which the brothers gave an alibi they were unconditionally released to their home.
On Monday of this week an 18 year old resident of Bat Ayin was detained on suspicion of involvement with the incident. He was interrogated for several hours and then released. Simultaneously the police summoned 7 children – aged 11 to 16 – for interrogation, all of whom, except for one, are residents of Bat Ayin. Some of the children were “treated” to a visit by policemen at their home in order to bring them in for interrogation. As of now the police have not requested a remand extension on any of the children.
Honenu, which is providing the children with legal assistance, is astonished by the determination and efficiency of the police in investigating events in which the suspects are Jews. “According to data which we received from the emergency management headquarters of Yehuda and Shomron since the above mentioned incident on Route 60, Arabs have thrown approximately 70 fire bombs at Jewish civilians and soldiers. Miraculously no-one was physically injured. We haven’t heard of such a wide scale investigation by the security forces into these incidents. There is no doubt that tone of the news media and the interference of high-ranking politicians in the investigation are setting the agenda of the Israeli Police. On the eve of Yom Kippur Honenu started a campaign insisting that those responsible for the detentions to apologize to the children who have been detained in the case. “They took three children, threatened them and yelled at them so that they would confess to acts they hadn’t done. They withheld food and rest from them, pulled their payot and prevented them from meeting with an attorney. Where have we ever heard of anything like this? Where are all the human rights organizations? The National Council for Child Welfare? There is a legitimate way to conduct an investigation in a situation such as this and the police conduct fell far from it. There is no doubt that someone here must ask for forgiveness,” concluded Honenu. See here and here for more details.
In response to the wave of interrogations and detentions Honenu attorney David HaLevi, who represented the children and assisted the most recent detainees and interrogatees, said that “The continuation of the numerous interrogations and detentions speaks for itself. It seems that the police are grasping at straws in an attempt to find a suspect who “fits” the case.”

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