Jerusalem judge blasts police for arresting wrong man
Beit Safafa man released on Tuesday after spending five months behind bars.
After five months in police detention, a Beit Safafa man was released on Tuesday when a judge rejected eyewitness accounts and said he had been arrested for simply wearing the wrong shirt in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The allegations involved two incidents last October in Jerusalem's Talpiot neighborhood.
In one incident, two women fingered the defendant, Wael Alian, 32, as the man wearing a green shirt who they said had exposed himself to them while they were waiting for a bus.
In a second incident that same night, another woman, who has been identified as Y., claimed the man had forced her against a wall in an alley before she escaped.
In the first case, the major identifying feature implicating the man was his green shirt.
A short time after the second incident, Alian was seen at the scene and Y. identified him as the man who had attacked her. He was arrested on the spot.
He has denied all of the allegations, however, and said if he had committed the assault, he would not have remained on the scene.
Y. has acknowledged that she was under the influence of alcohol at the time, potentially undermining her credibility.
The two women at the bus stop were only able to provide vague and wavering details, flip-flopping over whether Alian was the man.
After Alian's release, the prosecutor's office issued a statement saying that Alian had been indicted after all the evidence in the case was weighed, adding that two levels of the judicial system had taken the position that there was sufficient evidence to detain the suspect until the end of legal proceedings against him.
"My life has been ruined," Alian said on Tuesday. "I sat in jail for five months over nothing." He said he intends to sue the state.
The judge who released Alian, Alexander Ron, also railed against the police for allegedly telling the two women from the first incident about the second incident, suggesting that the same man might have been involved.
The police investigator involved denied she had divulged the details.