A friend of Chaim Perlman, a man whom security forces have been holding on charges of multiple slayings of Arabs, was arrested Tuesday and then released after several hours of questioning.
This is the third friend of Perlman's to be arrested and released in recent weeks.
Sources close to Perlman told the Chonenu organization – which assists Jewish security prisoners – that the detention of Perlman's friends is intended to make an impression on the court so that it enables his continued incarceration.
"The Israel Security Agency [also known as Shin Bet – ed.] does not know how to accept defeat gracefully,” the sources said. “We realized yesterday that after being scolded by the judge they will try to present a false picture of developments in the investigation, and will try various tricks to keep Perlman under arrest for some more days. It is time that the ISA internalize the fact that such behavior is against the law, and even the Jewish Section of the ISA is not above the law.”
Judge Nachum Sternlicht of the Petach Tikva Magistrates' Court said Monday that he does not see any significant evidence against Perlman. Noting that barely any progress has been made in the case since Perlman's arrest, the judge set Perlman's release for Wednesday, barring significant developments in the case.
There have been more signs of the security forces' apparent embarrassment in the Perlman case. On Monday police arrested a young Jewish man near the Kotel, in the course of the monthly “circling of the gates” ceremony. The man had been holding stickers that cynically said: “I am also a friend of Chaim Perlman – arrest me.”
According to Chonenu, the Investigations Officer of the Kishle police station claimed that the stickers constituted a disturbance of the peace in the Old City. Detectives took the young man to the Kishle station and then released him, without interrogating him and without any conditions, after confiscating 12 stickers he had in his possession.