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Charge: Prosecutors’ Bias Keeps Nationalists in Jail

Families, legal activists accuse state prosecutors of keeping right-wing protesters in jail due to personal bias.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/16/2012, 12:02 PM

Graffiti (file)
Graffiti (file)
Flash 90

State prosecutors in Jerusalem are keeping nationalist Jewish activists in jail due to personal bias, legal rights activists charged Thursday. Several Jews have been kept in jail until trial for charges of vandalism – a situation that activists and families say is unprecedented.

Legal Forum head Nachi Eyal expressed shock as prosecutors fought an order releasing right-wing activists who protested two months ago in Qasr al-Yahud. “We have checked the precedents regarding anarchists in Bilin and Nalin, and we were amazed to find that there were no cases in which left-wing activists were arrested in similar circumstances,” he said.

The Qasr al-Yahud protesters have been in prison for several weeks. The recent release order would see them freed until trial under tight restrictions.

A similar situation is unfolding in the case of Oryan Nizri, a young woman accused of vandalizing an Arab man’s property in the PA town of Luban a-Sharkiya. Nizri is charged with puncturing bags of cement and leaving anti-Islam graffiti.

Like the Qasr al-Yahud protesters, Nizri was to be released until trial under strict conditions, including supervised house arrest. However, Jerusalem state prosecutors have filed an appeal aimed at keeping her in jail.

Her attorneys say the situation is unprecedented. Vandalism is not a charge that has previously been used to justify detention until trial, they said.

Legal experts who spoke to Arutz Sheva confirmed the attorneys’ claims. “It is not customary to arrest suspects for breaking laws regarding graffiti or property damage,” they said. “There is no doubt that if [the detainees] were left-wing activists or Arabs the police would not have arrested them even for a single day, and may not have attached any importance to the complaint.”

With the departure of Shai Nitzan from the Prosecutor’s Office “we have hoped for a new spirit, a balanced professional approach which would see each case individually and not ideologically,” they said. However, they continued, “Litman’s start in office has not boded well.”