Duma suspect released to house arrest

Lod court rejects police appeal to keep suspect detained, after unrelated charges suddenly filed against him from incident two years ago.

Ari Soffer, | updated: 15:31

Duma suspects' lawyers
Duma suspects' lawyers
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

One of the suspects in the deadly Duma arson case has been released to house arrest, after Lod District Court rejected an appeal by police to keep him detained without trial.

The suspect, whose identity is still the subject of a gagging order, had been held for 29 days under administrative arrest, the initial 20 day of which he was denied any legal representation.

Yesterday, formal charges were finally filed against him - but in a totally unrelated case, pertaining to an alleged fight he had with Bedouin shepherds two years ago. Attorneys and supporters of the suspect accuse the Shin Bet security service of leveling the charges out of the blue in order to extend his detention despite a lack of evidence linking him to the deadly attack in Duma.

In a statement Tuesday, attorneys from the Honenu legal rights group alleged he had been subjected to "violent" interrogation techniques, including "violent shaking, hitting, banging his head against a wall, stretching his head back until he vomited, and sleep deprivation for entire days."

In rejecting the police appeal the court accepted the conditions for release set by a Petah Tikvah court Monday, which stipulated among other things a monetary guarantee and strict terms of house arrest.

Defense attorney Chai Hever stated at the end of the hearing: "After a month, throughout which the suspect insisted he was not connected to (the) Duma (arson), and insisted that he didn't do anything; after yesterday the court understood this, the state's appeal was today rejected and the suspect will go free under house arrest conditions for 10 days."

Hever added that he believed the other suspects would be released in due course as well.

"The investigation has exceeded all proportions," he continued. "The widespread arrests, the trigger-happy hand - whether during the investigation (itself), the arrests, or the violent, disgraceful, lowly, torturous methods of interrogation of these suspects - things which will still be exposed in the future - the time has come to end this chapter and I am happy that he has been released."

Of the last-minute charges filed against the suspect, Hever rejected them as a ploy by investigators, relating to "some minor, incident... he doesn't even know what they are talking about."




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