Perlman's release
Perlman's release Israel news photo

The Shalom (Magistrates) Court in Petah Tikva has ruled on the latest developments in the Chaim Perlman case, slightly easing his plight.

Perlman and his lawyer, Adi Keidar of the Honenu civil rights organization, had appealed against the Shabak/police order that Perlman be banned from meeting with his friends and mentors Itamar Ben-Gvir, Noam Federman and Ariel Gruner for the next 45 days. Perlman also requested court supervision over future Shabak questioning sessions of him, in light of the last session in which he says the investigators spent hours singing songs and otherwise mocking him.

Justice Avraham Tal handed down the following rulings: The Shabak may continue to summon Perlman for questioning, without outside supervision… Contact with Ben-Gvir, Federman and Gruner is liable to interfere with the ongoing investigation… Perlman will be permitted to leave his home, even though he is under house arrest, in order to meet with his lawyer in the latter’s office… Perlman's request that people other than his wife, parents and father-in-law be permitted to accompany him to his lawyer's office or police sessions is granted...

Honenu noted that Judge Tal criticized Perlman for not agreeing to speak with his interrogators at all – not even to answer whether he is interested in having lunch. Perlman has cited his right to remain silent, and observers note that "the Shabak interrogators are very skilled, and once you open your mouth even on trivial issues, it is very hard to close it..."

Perlman was arrested a month ago on suspicion of having killed four Arabs a decade ago. During his incarceration, he was not permitted to meet with his lawyer for several days, nor with his family at all. Shortly after his arrest, tape recordings of a Shabak agent attempting to goad Perlman into harming leading Israeli-Arabs were publicized.

Reports surfaced during the course of the month that he was being mistreated, while at the same time, the Shabak was arresting and releasing friends of Perlman - and failing to find evidence to support its suspicions against him. Finally, last week, a District Court judge ordered Perlman released, though he was placed under house arrest for 15 days. The Shabak made an unprecedented announcement at the time that despite his release, "Perlman still remains the number-one suspect." Legal commentators sharply criticized the police for this unwarranted judgment.