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Duma suspect's family fears for his health

Aunt of 18-year-old held in arson case says her innocent nephew went into jail healthy, now needs medical treatment and complains of pains.

Benny Tucker ,

Scene of arson attack, Duma
Scene of arson attack, Duma
Flash 90

Tzurit Yerehi, the aunt of one of the Jews being held on vague suspicions of involvement in the lethal Duma arson in July, told Arutz Sheva that she fears the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) has seriously abused her nephew.

Yerehi stressed that he has no connection with the arson murder, saying, "we know he isn't connected to this case at all, no conviction has been submitted. The details that are known to us distance him from the case. We gave all the details to a lawyer."

Several Jews have been arrested regarding the case, even though both Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) have admitted there is not a shred of evidence against the suspects to stand them on trial.

Numerous severe breaches to their rights have been recorded -  they have been refused basic religious rights such as lighting Hanukkah candles, been banned from seeing their lawyers or family, and at least one has been denied medical treatment after being beaten during arrest. Recently a suspect was even denied clean underwear.

The denial of medical treatment particularly troubles Yerehi, who noted, "our family is very worried, he has already been arrested for two weeks and we haven't had any contact with him. They didn't let us see him, we don't know where he's arrested, and what his health condition is."

"We know that he needs medical treatment and the judge allowed him to meet with a doctor," noted the concerned aunt. "He complained of pains, although it is certain that he went in there (to jail) healthy and whole. They didn't let us consult with a lawyer and we fear for his welfare."

"They took a young man, who is wonderful and honest, who is not used to legal matters, and are putting him through an investigation - as far as we know a difficult investigation while preventing him from sleeping, we are really worried."

"He wants to enlist in the IDF"

Yerehi argued that the ISA is treating the Jewish suspects worse than it does Arab terrorists.

She noted that her nephew was about to enlist in the IDF, and worked last year in agriculture and shepherding, adding, "they cruelly cut him off from his family on Hanukkah. They didn't let him pray or light Hanukkah candles."

"Even if he is released, I won't rest or be quiet until all of the detainees held without a lawyer are released. A reality like this is absurd, a man who isn't guilty of anything disappears from his home. We are starting to lose our faith in the Shabak (ISA) and the authorities."

"The parents are very worried, they know what a nice guy they raised and they are waiting for his release, they hope that his spirit won't break in investigation and that they won't hurt him."

She noted that "like every 18-year-old citizen he wants to enlist in the IDF. And we ask the members of the government, the Knesset and the Justice Ministry not to let the ISA take heavy-handed methods against people."

Some argue the investigation is following the wrong lead, given reports and unusual circumstances at the scene of the crime indicating the arson may have been an inside job committed by feuding residents of the Arab village. Israel has reportedly left investigation of the Arab village to the Palestinian Authority (PA), instead chasing the "Jewish terrorism" angle based on Hebrew graffiti found at the site.



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