Child Suspects from Bat Ayin Released to House Arrest
Police have released two boys suspected of involvement in a near-deadly firebomb attack to their homes in Bat Ayin. The boys, ages 12 and 13, were arrested on Sunday along with a friend, who was released earlier.
A court extended their remand twice, but on Thursday judge Yaron Mintkevitch ordered that they be released Friday due to the fact that no new evidence has been presented to justify their detention.
“As we said at every opportunity, the arrest of these children was random and unnecessary, false arrest,” said the boys’ attorney, David Halevy of the Honenu legal rights group. “Their release today proves this and speaks for itself.”
One of the boys said the arrest and detention had been highly unpleasant. On Sunday police barely gave them food, he said. Interrogations lasted for hours, he said, and often included shouting, threats, and even tugs on their sidelocks (payot).
Honenu accused the Israel Police of violating the children’s rights repeatedly. The group charged police with failing to allow an adult to be present during the boys’ questioning as required by law, delaying or denying them meetings with an attorney, ignoring their version of events, and more.
Attorney Halevy was only allowed to see the two after fellow Honenu attorney Adi Keidar filed an urgent appeal over the violations of their rights, sources in Honenu said.
Halevy said Friday, “The police conducted the investigation with brutality, severely violating my clients’ rights.”
The firebomb attack two weeks ago wounded six Arabs, including four members of one family. Two of the wounded were young children.
Many accused Jews in the Judea region of being behind the attack. Locals widely denied the charges, pointing out that the stretch of road on which the attack occurred is often attacked by Palestinian Authority terrorists.
Bat Ayin Rabbi Daniel Cohen has denounced the attack. Rabbi Cohen sent a letter to the community Thursday warning that the very fact that the town came under suspicion means soul-searching is needed. Attacks on Arabs show “a moral decline toward an abyss that does not differentiate between murder and defense,” he stated.