Criminal law expert:
Arrest for intimidation suspects? Supreme Court opposed

Attorney wonders about arrest of senior 'Faction' members in light of Supreme Court precedent that threats do not justify arrest.

Mordechai Sones ,

Arrest at Hapeles newspaper office
Arrest at Hapeles newspaper office
Israel Police

Furor has gripped the haredi street around the continued detention of senior Jerusam Faction members and Hapeles newspaper employees who are suspected of blackmailing the newspaper's advertising clients.

On this phenomenon that has spread beyond the borders of the haredi, Arutz Sheva spoke with attorney Nir Yaslovich, criminal law expert and head of the Tel Aviv District Attorney's Association Disciplinary Court, who believes that the suspects' detention is not necessary and is contrary to Supreme Court precedent.

"In anything having to do with the offense of threats, it is impossible to arrest a person, according to the Supreme Court," says Yaslovich. "I represented a person who was suspected of issuing threats against rabbinical court judges. He was arrested and released because it was already decided thus in court."

Yaslovich does not want to be caught up in the well-known conspiracy theories of the haredi street, according to which the entire arrest was intended only to silence protest over the enlistment issue. "I do not know if this is a deliberate silencing, but I can certainly say that we often encounter a phenomenon in which the police are too quick to pull the trigger. Two years ago there were similar arrests that elicited a weak response. There was also an affair of lawyers and social workers who were blackmailed and no indictments were issued."

According to him, the legal mechanism is clear and there are well-known grounds for detention when the arrest of a suspect is indeed justified and the court accepts the police's claims that a suspect is dangerous. But if it is possible to reduce the level of threat he poses by imposing various restrictive conditions, this alternative will be preferred because the detention does not serve to lessen the punishment, but is intended to prevent danger, and if this danger can be prevented in another way, then this should be the proper way to act.

If so, why do the suspects attorneys not use this simple argument? Yaslovich explains that the court's tendency is to allow the police to prove its claims regarding the danger posed by a suspect, but he himself wonders what investigation police still intend to perform since they hold tapes that allegedly incriminate the detainees and constitute the most significant evidence against them.

However, when asked if it is possible the police's intention is to interrogate the suspects and to incriminate other suspects who will be arrested in the coming days, Yaslovich does not rule this out. "Often the police arrest friends and relatives and co-workers so that one will incriminate the other and confessions are forthcoming, and that may be the entire point," he says.

In his remarks, Adv. Yaslovich expressed hope that the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court would implement the Supreme Court's ruling and release the detainees with restrictions that would be deemed sufficient to reduce their threat, whether by denial of telephone use or by high bond. With this Yaslovich agrees that their release would not constitute evidence that they do not pose a real threat, but could certainly apply the Supreme Court's ruling that intimidation does not warrant detention, and nothing more.