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Prosecutors Subpoenaed in Ben Gvir Case

Itamar Ben Gvir won a battle in court as a Jerusalem Court orders prosecutors to take the stand and explain their decision to prosecute.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 6/30/2011, 7:16 PM / Last Update: 7/1/2011, 12:14 AM

Itamar Ben Gvir

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court issued a subpoena Thursday ordering State Prosecutors to appear and explain why the state failed to indict right-wing activists found in possession of inciting material.

The subpoena was unusual not only in that it ordered prosecutors to appear and explain the internal workings of their office, but that it was issued based on a petition filed by right-wing activist Itamar Ben Gvir.

The 2006 case pending against Ben Gvir alleges he was in possession of radical propaganda material, and that he posted inciting flyers in Jerusalem.

Ben Gvir argued in his petition that the State failed to indict anyone else found in possession of the material, which constitutes selective enforcement and discriminatory prosecution.

The defense therefore requested the court call former Attorney General Menahem Mazuz, Jerusalem District Prosecutor Eli Abarbanel and Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, the to the stand, as well as several others.

The State, when asked to identify who was involved in the decision of who to indict and not to indict in the case, told the court Mazuz signed the decision to indict Ben Gvir. It did not detail who was involved in the decision not to pursue criminal action against others investigated by police in the case.

The court admonished the State, saying its answer was "insufficient."

The name of the attorney subpoenaed was not disclosed. The court noted that more subpoenas may be issued after his testimony.                

Justice Ministry Spokesman, Attorney Moshe Cohen said, "We are currently studying the court's decision. The brief the state filed with the court said it is inconceivable to subpoena officers of the prosecution as witnesses and ask that they explain their decision on whether to indict."

"This is not the proper manner to examine the defendant's claim of selective enforcement… that ruling should be made based on the evidence submitted to the court."

Cohen did not explain why testimony given by a subpoenaed witness does not constitute materially relevant evidence in making such a determination.