Israeli Court Blasts Arrest of Citizen Suspected of Grave Security-related Offenses

'It doesn’t seem to me like a dramatic thing,' district court judge says

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Illustration photo of a defendant walking into a hearing.
Illustration photo of a defendant walking into a hearing. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

An Israeli judge harshly criticized on Thursday the state's handling of an affair which involves the detention of an Israeli citizen on suspicion of serious security-related offenses.

The security affair was cleared for publication on Wednesday. The man was arrested as part of a joint investigation by the Shin Bet security service and the police, held in detention and interrogated for a few weeks. In the first 20 days of his detention, he was denied the right to meet with his lawyer, at the order of the court.

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In a hearing held following the state's appeal in the case, Be’er Sheva District Court Judge Eliahu Bitan told the prosecution to "come back to reality."

"The general scenario is unconvincing and has been exhausted. It doesn’t seem to me like a dramatic thing, that we saved the State of Israel. The truth has to be established during the initial arrest and that too has a limit," Bitan said.

A decision in the suspect’s case is expected in the coming days.

The suspect's identity, the suspicions against him, and other details of the affair have been put under gag order by the Ashkelon Magistrate's Court. The affair itself has been cleared for publication following petitions by Haaretz and Ynet news, filed by lawyer Yaron Hanin of the firm Lieblich-Moser-Gluck.

The suspect's lawyers, Avi Himi and Moshe Weiss, said in response that “despite the bombastic headlines, this is a suspicion that will end in a whimper. Our client is a citizen who is loyal to the state of Israel.”

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