The father of a 10-year-old boy from Kafr Qasem who was killed late last week will be held in custody for three days on suspicion of involvement in the murder, a Ramle court decided Monday.
The father, Mohammed Sarsur, denies any involvement in his son's death.
"This is not a man who is capable of committing such a heinous crime," said his attorney, Anwar Frig. "Anyone who knows him cannot believe he did it. ... I think the police are clutching at straws and half-truths in an attempt to tie my client to the crime, but I know there's a serious internal conflict among the investigators, some of whom wanted to release him."
Frig said the court's decision to detain his client for three days, even though the police requested a 10-day remand, shows the police "are not sure themselves."
Anass Sarsur's body was found early Friday near his home. Police suspect he was hit by a car and then killed by one or more people in the car for fear he would turn them in.
Some Kafr Qasem residents, believing that the father had nothing to do with Anass' death, fear a murderer is on the loose.
Many parents have been more cautious than usual, reluctant to let even older children continue to go to and from school by themselves, said Abdul Wahab Hir Allah, chairman of the town's parents committee.
"We're not used to things like this in Kafr Qasem," he said. "Parents are feeling very insecure. I personally keep looking for my children at every moment to make sure where they are, and we see fewer children out in the evening. We believe the father that he didn't do it, but the fact that a 10-year-old was murdered in such a way gives us the feeling that a monster is at large among us."
Another parent in town said this is the latest in several violent incidents that have taken place within the past two years.
"I don't know the father, but I believe he's innocent," the neighbor said. "I have a child almost the same age as Anass. What worries me is that several violent incidents have taken place in town in the past year and a half, including two murders that have remained unsolved, despite arrests and allegations of security offenses."
Sarsur's extended custody compounds the family's anger and pain.
"People come to console and support the family, and the father should be the one to receive the condolences, but they inexplicably decided to arrest him," said Raid Taha, Mohammed Sarsur's brother-in-law, as he handed mourners cups of black coffee.
Kafr Qasem Mayor Nader Sarsur, a relative of the family, said he believes Mohammed Sarsur is innocent.
"Everyone's under pressure, maybe that's the reason he was arrested," the mayor said. "We're certain he'll be released in the next few days."
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