No end in sight for Rivka Meirchik, after a judge summarily ordered her back to prison on Thursday. She has been incarcerated for more than two months because she refuses to post a bond.
Rivka Meirchik, 29, from Kiryat Ata near Haifa, was arrested during one of the violent evictions of the Shvut Ami outpost in Samaria over two months ago. She, like others before her, has refused to recognize the authority of a Jewish court system in the Land of Israel that refuses to recognize Jewish rights to the Land. She therefore has not posted a bond guaranteeing her presence at future court sessions, nor has she cooperated in any way with the legal system.
The courts have responded in kind, refusing to release her from prison - and refusing even to set future court dates. She is being held in solitary confinement until the end of the judicial proceedings, and has been denied visitation and phone rights.
Judge Shashua Returns Meirchik to Prison
Her most recent court experiences were Monday and Thursday of last week. She was brought before a judge on Monday, and the defense and prosecution presented their arguments regarding her continued incarceration. On Thursday, Judge Nitza Maimon Shashua of the Kfar Saba Magistrates Court announced her decision over the course of less than a minute, sending Meirchik back to prison without announcing the next court date. Her attorney Aviad Visouly told Arutz-7, "This trial could have been over a long time ago; they are simply stalling and dragging it out."
No formal charges have been filed against the quiet female inmate, who appeared "emaciated," observers said. She suffers from severe food allergies, and in fact only eats fruit in prison. Prison guard Orit Hasidi told IsraelJustice.com, "We don't have, here in the prison, the other foods that she eats."
Attorney Visouly said he plans to file an appeal on Tuesday in the Petach Tikvah District Court. "The evidence simply is not sufficient to justify keeping her in prison," Visouly told Arutz-7, "based on the necessary standards in criminal trials. In addition, the court is simply violating the law by refusing to bring her to court every 48 hours."
Visouly said he filed an appeal on this matter in the Supreme Court last week, "one that was much more severe - yet there too, the Court simply ignored it. I filed a habeas corpus suit, meaning that [Meirchik] is being held in prison illegally - because the courts are not fulfilling the law requiring them to have her brought to court every 48 hours." Visouly's position is that the "every 48-hour" clause applies even when the defendant has been remanded until the end of the legal proceedings.
"Because this is a habeas corpus case," Visouly said, "they should have heard the case immediately - but instead, the Supreme Court is just ignoring the law. There has been no response at all, nothing."
Meirchik is following the pattern set by previous arrestees in the struggle for the Land of Israel - most notably mother-of-ten Esther Ettie Medad, whose husband Shmuel Zangy Medad heads the Honenu Legal Rights Organization; she spent 25 days in prison in 2005. In addition, teenager Tzviya Sariel spent nearly four months in prison this year, and several ulpana yeshiva high school girls were imprisoned for a month earlier this year. All were arrested while engaging in pro-Land of Israel activities.
None of the above gave in, and as Shmuel Medad of Honeny told Arutz-7, they were ultimately freed from prison after their cases were widely publicized.