Youths accused of assaulting Arab taxi drivers released from house arrest

Thursday, February 14, 16:19 On the afternoon of Thursday, February 14 a deliberation took place on two minors accused of attacking Arab taxi drivers with tear gas. On Wednesday, February 6 the police detained a minor, a resident of Beit El, as he left a wedding hall in the Talpiot industrial zone of Jerusalem. Two Arab taxi drivers accompanying a police patrol identified the minor as one of the two assailants who had assaulted them earlier the same day. The youth was immediately detained and interrogated by the Unit for the Investigation of Nationalist Crimes. The following day his remand was extended by one day.
The following day the police requested an additional remand and the court agreed. Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is representing the youth on behalf of Honenu, filed an urgent appeal with the district court. Jerusalem District Court Judge Drori rejected the police request and released the youth to house arrest on the grounds that there had been no progress in the investigation and that the investigation could be continued when the suspect was not in remand.
On Sunday, February 10 an additional minor was detained at the Western Wall on suspicion that he was also involved with the incident. The youth was interrogated at the Unit for the Investigation of Nationalist Crimes. The following day the youth was brought to the court on a request by the police to extend his remand. The court refused the request and released the youth to house arrest until the following Friday.
On Thursday, February 14 the police demanded that the Jerusalem Magistrate Court extend the house arrest of the youths by three weeks. Despite the fact that in the request the reason written for the extension was due to the dangerousness of the youths in the deliberation itself the police claimed that the extension is necessary for continuation of the investigation. Attorney Ben-Gvir, who is representing the youths on behalf of Honenu, called the judge’s attention to the contradiction in the statements made by the police.
Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Cjana Miriam Lomp rejected the claim made by the police and said that the district court had ruled on the claims made by the police and had determined the conditions for release. According to the Judge Lomp nothing had changed since the court’s ruling and she is not an appeals court for a decision made by the district court. Judge Lomp supported Judge Drori who ruled that there is no need to keep the minors under house arrest in order to continue the investigation and also expressed a doubt that the investigation would continue.
Because the house arrest of one of the minors included the following day (Friday) Ben-Gvir pleaded that the request filed by the police negates the present house arrest and that therefore the youth should be allowed to leave his home immediately. Judge Lomp acquiesced to Ben-Gvir’s plea and released the youth.
In other deliberations which took place today the protesters detained during disturbances following the demolition of a neighborhood in Ma’aleh Rahavam were conditionally released. Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir of Honenu summarizes the events of the day in the various courts, “The courts sent a clear message to the police that they must stop harassing right-wingers and demonstrators. I hope that the police internalize the message and start to understand that also right-wingers have the right to demonstrate and protest, especially in the serious situation of Jews being forcibly removed from their homes.”

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