(Illustration) Flash 90

The Honenu legal aid organization argued on Tuesday that despite the Lod District Court ruling earlier in the day to release one of the Jewish suspects in the lethal Duma arson to house arrest, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) is refusing to let him go.

According to the organization, IPS representatives told the suspect's family after four hours of waiting that they "received an order from above" not to release him for the time being.

Then at 6 p.m., after what Honenu argues were several hours of the suspect being illegally held, sources in the investigation announced that they submitted a request to the court asking to delay the release so as to issue a petition to the Supreme Court.

In the request, signed by Attorney Avi Tiboni of the nationalist crime department of the police, is written: "after the State Attorney (Shai Nitzan) examined the decision of the District Court from today, this request is being submitted on his orders to delay the execution of the release so as to submit a petition."

Honenu says that during the hours in which Nitzan examined the decision, IPS delayed the suspect's release without the authority to do so, in an apparent breach of the law.

"This is an earthquake, in which the State Attorney reasons he can change judicial decisions even after the court rises from deliberation," said Attorney Chai Haber, who is representing the suspect for Honenu.

"In this request, the State Attorney and the police are partners in an illegal arrest of a man...who for nearly a month was held on claims that he was involved in the Duma case, something that was shown yesterday to be a baseless argument."

The suspect had been held for 29 days in administrative arrest, the first 20 days of which he was denied legal representation.

On Monday police filed charges against him on a totally unrelated case, pertaining to an alleged fight he had with Bedouin shepherds two years ago. The court Tuesday threw out the police petition to keep him in detention based on the unrelated alleged altercation, but left the conditions of his release as including a 10-day house arrest and bail.

"A problematic message"

Honenu said in a statement: "every additional moment that the detainee is held by this demand is a contempt of the judicial decisions, and when it comes from the person standing at the head of the system appointed to execute these decisions, the message to the public is very problematic, and joins the conduct of the attorney's office as seen in this case and recent cases published in the press."

Honenu attorneys report that the suspect testified he was subjected to torture, including "violent shaking, hitting, banging his head against a wall, stretching his head back until he vomited, and sleep deprivation for entire days."

The suspect's family released a statement shortly after the court ruled to release him, saying, "the entire argument in the court throughout stages of the arrest was that they're dealing with a ticking bomb as it were, and it was a lie from the beginning and they led the court, the politicians and the public astray."

"We call to establish a parliamentary investigation committee to examine the video tapes from the interrogation so that the truth behind the claims of torture will reach the light," added the family.

One minor suspect in the case broke down and confessed last week after nearly a month of interrogation, but the reported torture raises concerns that the confession may have been false and inadmissible as evidence. Prior to the confession, officials admitted there was no evidence against the suspects.