Israeli Indicted for Setting Car Aflame in Tel Aviv Protest Over Police Shooting

The suspect is accused of pouring gasoline into a vehicle that was set on fire during nationwide protests over the killing of 18-year-old Solomon Teka

The car that was set aflame near the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv.
Tomer Appelbaum

A man who participated in the nationwide protests that erupted last week over police shooting of 18-year-old Solomon Teka was indicted Wednesday for torching a car at a Tel Aviv demonstration. 

According to the indictment filed by the State Prosector's Office, the demonstrator poured gasoline into a car that was on the street after other protesters jumped on the vehicle and smashed its windows. The police rescued the car’s driver.

Ethiopian Israelis protesting police shooting of Solomon TekaHaaretz

>> Read more: ‘Not MLK, but Malcolm X’: Is Israel having its Black Lives Matter moment? ■ Ethiopian Israelis are furious at 'white media' coverage of protests, and for a good reason | Analysis ■ No one did anything to defuse the Ethiopian-Israeli 'time bomb' 

Another protester, who was masked, set the car on fire and fled.

The 27-year-old man who has been indicted was arrested immediately after the incident and is being accused of arson and intentional destruction of property. The court decided to extend the suspect’s remand, saying the demonstrations “do not permit the commission of any offense or act that is against the law.”

The suspect has been detained since July 2 and prosecutors have asked the court that his detention be extended until the end of the legal proceedings. The prosecution justified the request by saying the defendant is dangerous, adding that he set the car on fire with a large number of people around.

The prosecution further stressed that the suspect did so without any incident "of violence with police officers or a fight," and “it is hard to say it happened because it happened in the heat of the moment.”

The request to to keep the defendant in detention also states that he has a criminal record, that includes two convictions in juvenile court for which he served a few months in prison.

Attorney Yael Nissan of the Public Defender’s Office asked the court to release him to house arrest, saying his criminal record is irrelevant. “This is a special guy with a criminal past, but he was a minor in 2008. This is an old criminal record, and he has learned from it,” said the lawyer. “When he grew up he was no longer a criminal but a youth counselor in rehabilitation.”

More than 200 demonstrators were arrested since the protests began last week, 11 of whom are still being held in detention. The protesters were arrested on a wide range of charges, including throwing rocks and firebombs, assaulting police officers and civilians, disturbing order, damaging property, inciting to violence and making threats.

In some of the court hearings, the police had difficulty presenting proper evidence and in some cases, no evidence was collected. Some of the suspects were released to house arrest after permission from police, while others were ordered to stay away from the protests. The police have said they would work quickly to file indictments.