Pepper-spraying assailant released

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher; Photo credit: Honenu

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Thursday, October 28, 2021, 13:54 In late October, an Arab assaulted a 21-year-old yeshiva student in the Old City of Jerusalem. The assailant fled, but was located and interrogated by the police. After the student discovered that the court had unconditionally released the assailant, Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the student, sent a letter to the Jerusalem Police describing the attack and demanding that the assailant be placed under house arrest until the end of legal proceedings. The letter is summarized below:

The student, a resident of the Old City of Jerusalem, was riding his bicycle home when suddenly an Arab also riding a bicycle passed him and shouted loudly in his ear. The student described what he had experienced: “He intentionally bumped into me, cursed me, and ‘gave me the finger’. He continued, and ambushed me by waiting for me at the next intersection with pepper spray. He sprayed me in the eyes from point-blank range, and escaped. Just like a hit-and-run.”

The student reported that two hours passed before he could open his eyes and that it took two days for the dizziness to pass.

A passer-by who was a witness to the assault called the police and the MDA (EMS), who treated the student. The policemen at the scene informed the student that the assailant had been seen by the security cameras and detained by the police. While he was still suffering from the effects of the assault, the student filed a complaint with the police against the assailant.

To his great surprise, the student discovered through the crime victim notification system that the court had released the assailant to his home without imposing any significant restrictions.

The student, who resides near the scene of the assault, described his feelings about the release of the assailant: “My understanding and my feeling is that [the assailant] is going around with dangerous materials in his pocket. Inasmuch as this time it was pepper spray, next time it could be a knife. With the frenzy and the incitement at Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) every evening, he could have easily stabbed [a victim] and fled.

“As a resident of the area, I go around the streets feeling like everyone is liable to pull out a knife, especially since the suspect was released after several hours, without even house arrest. It’s insane. The attack was in the Christian Quarter, which is considered quiet. It really destabilizes the area and shows the escalation [of Arab assaults].”

Releasing the assailant and not distancing him from the scene of the crime actively endangers the victim of the crime and additional Israeli citizens. This is all the more true after we discovered that he is a serial assailant. It is important to know that crime victims bear physical and emotional scars from the incident for their entire lives. Who will take responsibility for the damages to the next victims of the released assailant?

Bleicher concluded the letter with a demand to prosecute the assailant to the full extent of the law, as soon as possible.

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