Arab attacker released - Jews remain in custody

Jewish youths complain of Arab assault in Old City, detained along with suspect. Suspect unconditionally released, boys remain in custody.

Natanel Katz,

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Jerusalem Old City's David District Police detained Jewish youths who reported that they were assaulted by an Arab attacker. They were kept in custody even after police released the suspected Arab assailant with no restrictive conditions, it was revealed in a hearing held Friday in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.

The two Jewish youths, who are members of the "Returning to the Mount Movement,"held a walk around the gates of the Temple Mount, during which they were attacked by an Arab, whom, they said hit one of them in the face and spit on them. They contacted the police stationed there and asked them to arrest the Arab, but the police decided to detain them as well as the Arab for questioning.

At the Kishla station, police interrogated the two boys on suspicion of disturbing the peace, claiming that an altercation between them and local Arabs led to the riot, while the Arab was investigated on suspicion of assault. But after the investigation police released the attack suspect with no restrictive conditions, while the two boys were told to sign a 15-day suspension from the area. They refused and the police left them in custody overnight and Friday brought them to court, where police requested an order to distance them from the area.

Honenu attorney Rehavia Piltz, who represented the two, argued at the hearing that there was no reason to distance the youths because they were the ones attacked, and had committed no crime.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Elazar Nachalon ruled that there is no cause to distance the youths from the area and ordered their unconditional release, explaining that his decision was based on the nature of the evidence and allegations, and the fact that the assault suspect was released without restrictive conditions.

"Unfortunately David District Police have adopted a policy in which Jews are always [considered] guilty, even if they are the victims," said Piltz.

"So we see an automatic request [by police] to distance from the Old City almost any Jew who was arrested in the area. In this case the police went further and released the assailant without restriction, while Jewish minors spent the night in custody. We are pleased that the court has not acquiesced in this behavior of the police, and hope that this dangerous policy which encourages attacks on Jews changes immediately."








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