Yitzhar Resident Arrested for Being Yitzhar Resident

A resident of the Shomron community Yitzhar was arrested simply for being a resident of Yitzhar. Police wouldn't let him talk to a lawyer.

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Elad Benari,

Police car (illustration)
Police car (illustration)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A resident of the Shomron (Samaria) community of Yitzhar was arrested on Tuesday for the “crime” of being a resident of Yitzhar.

The Honenu legal aid group told Arutz Sheva that the resident, S., travelled to northern Israel to visit relatives who live there. To his surprise, he was detained at the police station in Rosh Pina.

S. was interrogated on suspicion of committing a crime, Honenu said, but after an investigation that lasted several hours he was released unconditionally.

According to S., he was on his way to visit his family when he was stopped near Rosh Pina for a routine license check. After reviewing the license, the officer asked S. where he lived, and when he replied that he was a resident of Yitzhar, the officer asked him what he was doing in the area. When S. asked whether there was a problem with Yitzhar residents being in the area, the officer demanded he get out of his car so it can be searched. He was then asked several questions, at which point he was informed his answers were insufficient and that he is being detained for questioning on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime.

Honenu told Arutz Sheva that during the course of the investigation, S. was not presented with any accusation regarding the supposed crime he committed. He then told the police that he would not cooperate with the interrogation because it is a political one.

Honenu added that at 3:00 a.m. that night, Attorney Adi Keidar of the organization called the police station and asked to speak with S. The police refused to allow him to speak to S., an act which is against the law, as is harassing citizens without cause.

Police have had a history of harassing residents of Yitzhar. In August, police officers issued restraining orders for some residents of the community without providing reasons for the action.

When investigating some of the suspects, the ISA tried to use tricks to get them to talk, such as planting a prisoner in their jail cell.

Akiva Hacohen, a Yitzhar resident, was recently accused by police of espionage, because he warned Jews residing in communities in Judea and Samaria of impending demolitions of homes. The government later withdrew charges that Hacohen and four other detainees were spies.