Remand extended on detainee accused of assaulting Arabs in Jerusalem

Thursday, February 7, 16:50 Despite claims by the police concerning the complexity of the investigation and their demands to extend the remand by 10 days, Judge Borstein extended the remand by only one day. Honenu states: The remand is superfluous. The police are playing with the detainee’s freedom.
On Wednesday, February 6, close to midnight a Jewish youth left a wedding hall in the Talpiot industrial zone of Jerusalem. The youth was detained after being identified by two Arab taxi drivers accompanying policemen on a patrol as being the assailants who had attacked them on the previous day. According to the taxi drivers the youth along with another youth sprayed them with tear gas after realizing that they were Arabs. A second youth was not detained at the time. The detainee, who had left the wedding hall with a group of friends, denied all charges and said that he was being harassed because his appearance is that of a “hilltop youth”. The policemen accepted the identification made by the Arab taxi drivers and detained the youth.
On Thursday, February 7 the detainee was brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate Court before Judge Mordechai Borstein. In the deliberation the police representative demanded a remand extension of 10 days. According to him there are many investigative procedures which require that the detainee remain in remand. To the question posed by Honenu attorney David HaLevi, who is representing the youth, as to what the procedures are, the police refused to specify and said that the court has the relevant material.
Later in the deliberation HaLevi expressed doubt as to the identification of the suspect. According to HaLevi there are several items in the testimony of the taxi drivers which calls into question the validity of the identification. Also the detainee was not identified in the police line-up, which is a necessary step in instances such as this. According to HaLevi the detention was completely superfluous and in any event the demand made by the police is extreme by any standard. At most the remand should be extended by a few hours in order to allow the police to finish the investigatory procedures which necessitate the presence of the detainee in remand.
Judge Mordechai Borstein rejected the police request and extended the remand by one day in order to allow the police to continue the investigation. After the deliberation the Central Unit of the Jerusalem Police announced that they intent to appeal the decision.
Honenu replied that, “The intolerable ease with which the police disregard the freedom of people associated with or identified as belonging to a certain sector, exceeds all limits. As far as the police are concerned any child with a large kippah and long payot is a potential suspect and even the slightest suspicion is enough to deny him his freedom for a long time. We hope that the “necessary” procedures of the police are completed and that tomorrow the youth will be released to his home.”

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