Thursday, February 17, 2022, 19:23 Six Jewish youths who were detained in the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood of Jerusalem on February 15 were released from their remand, which had been extended. Although an appeal filed by Honenu with the Jerusalem District Court on the extension was rejected, the police decided to release the youths due to lack of evidence implicating them in the incidents with which they were charged. At the hearing, Honenu Attorney Nati Rom claimed that the youths had been detained because of their Jewish appearance: “We are convinced that the detention was erroneous. The appellants were a great distance outside of the city at the time considered to be the time of the incident. The appellants did not violate any law, and they were detained solely because of their appearance.”
Following the rejection of the appeal, the suspected youths’ attorneys filed an urgent request for a re-examination of the remand order in light of a police line-up that was conducted a day after their detention. “At a hearing held on 15/2/2022 before the Honorable Judge Elad Lang, the court ordered the remand extension. One day later, in the presence of the suspects’ attorneys, the investigative unit conducted line-ups with regard to all of the suspects, for two complainants. However neither complainant identified even one of the suspects. One of the complainants went so far as to claim that the people presented in the line-ups were not the correct people,” wrote the suspects’ attorneys to the court.
“In light of the change in the circumstances and in light of the fact that the investigating unit does not have evidence directly connecting the suspects to the incidents, we ask the court for a re-examination of the detention of the suspects, and we request that the court order their immediate release,” concluded the request.
The Israel Police decided to immediately release the suspects after they admitted that there was insufficient evidence linking the youths to the incidents attributed to them. Honenu Attorneys Adi Keidar, Nati Rom, and Assaf Gonen Levi represented the youths.
Honenu Attorney Keidar: “The decision to release the suspects solely due to requests and appeals is extremely serious and indicates that from the start, there were no grounds for their detention. Our criticism is directed at the court and the police, and it puts into focus the reason for the lack of public confidence in the law enforcement system.”
Honenu Attorney Rom, in response to the release of the youths: “The number of innocent Jews whom the courts in Jerusalem have detained for many days is intolerable. There are judges who for some reason do not listen to the claims of defense attorneys when the suspects are Jews. The quick release indicates that the reason for the detention was as we claimed throughout the hearings: the suspects’ Jewish appearance.”
Honenu Attorney Gonen Levi: “The release of the suspects today only emphasizes the fact that from the start this was a false detention. The investigating unit did well to come to their senses in time and accept our request for the release of the suspects.”