On the afternoon of 7 Teves, the Binyamin Police arrived at the hilltop community of Mishcanot HaRo’im near Kochav HaShachar and detained six youths residing there. The police claimed that they detained the youths because IDF Central Command Major General Nitzan Alon had issued an order forbidding Jews from entering the area.
The six youths were taken to the Binyamin Police Station and interrogated. They received legal counsel from Honenu attorney Hur Uriel Nizri. Initially the police announced that all of the youths would be released, however in the end only two of them were released and the police announced that the other four would be brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate Court the following morning for a deliberation on the conditions for their release.
Honenu rushed to file an urgent appeal with Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Hannah Miriam Lomp, who requested a response from the police. The Binyamin Police interrogation officer Shai DeCosta sent a written response to the court in which he explained that the police claims department intends to file an indictment against the four youths the following morning. Judge Lomp ruled in response that due to the intent to file an indictment, the youths would be brought to the deliberation only the following morning at 9:00.
However the following morning it turned out that despite the written declaration to the court, no indictment or plaintiff’s affidavit was filed against the youths. The police requested that the court release the youths with a restraining order banning them from the hilltop community in which they were detained. Judge Miriam Alkaslasi ruled that the restraining order would be in effect until Major-General Alon’s order was no longer in effect and that some of the detainees would be required to post 500 NIS bail. Moriah Sasson, an attorney from Honenu attorney David HaLevi’s office, represented the youths at the deliberation on Tuesday morning.
Two of the youths posted bail and were released and the other two remained in remand because they were not able to post bail. HaLevi rushed to appeal the decision and the Jerusalem District Court scheduled a deliberation for the following morning and thus the youths remained in remand for two days. The following morning Judge Raphael Yaakobi heard the police representative, Commander Shai DeCosta, who claimed that the indictment was not filed because of the shortness of time which prevented the claims department from consulting with the Deputy Attorney General. At the end of the deliberation Judge Yaakobi accepted HaL51evi’s pleas and rejected DeCosta’s claims.
Judge Yaakobi wrote in his decision that, “The developments in the case were very problematic. It is particularly serious that on the basis of the declaration that an indictment would be filed the following morning, a deliberation on the appeal of the initial detention was prevented, which led to an additional night in remand. The explanation given today also does not provide a satisfactory answer, especially when the information given today in relation to it was not specified in the response which was given to the magistrate court.”
Judge Yaakobi accepted the appeal in full and ordered the immediate, unconditional release of the youths and cancelled the restraining order issued against the youths released the previous day.
Honenu attorney David HaLevi said in response: “The conduct of the police who detained my clients, minors 14 years of age, with no justification, was scandalous. They left them in remand unnecessarily and gave a fraudulent declaration to the court. The unconditional release of my clients according to the decision by the [Jerusalem] District Court speaks for itself.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)