The Israeli army has circumvented a court order and stiffened the terms under which a 16-year-old settler activist was released from administrative detention, following a request from the Shin Bet security service.
The teen, who is part of the extremist West Bank movement known as Hilltop Youth, had been detained without trial after violating a administrative order (which placed various restrictions on him).
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court initially ordered him released on the condition that he remain at home at night. But the Israel Defense Forces order requires him to be under house arrest 24 hours a day.
The teen’s lawyer, Moshe Polsky from the right-wing Honeneu organization, said the offenses attributed to his client all related to violations of a prior administrative order and do not accuse him of violent acts.
Polsky said that for two weeks the teen had refused to be released if it was subject to restrictions, but ultimately relented. However, he was then served with the new IDF order, featuring harsher restrictions than the court itself had imposed.
The security forces said the teen is accused of severe violence of a nationalistic nature and is a danger to the public. However, they added they have yet to gather sufficient evidence to indict him, or even to extend his period of detention without trial.
The teen had refused to be released from detention because he said he couldn’t handle the restrictions that would have been imposed. His friends said he ultimately relented, in order to ease the situation for his family.
This is the second time in recent months in which the Shin Bet has made use of an administrative order to circumvent a court’s decision concerning a Jewish detainee.
In June, 19-year-old Elia Nativ was arrested on suspicion of serious allegations of violence, including torching Palestinian vehicles and attempting to vandalize a diplomatic vehicle. But there was insufficient evidence to justify indicting him.
Central District Court in Lod ordered Nativ released shortly after his arrest, but just hours later a two-month administrative detention order – meaning he could be held for two months without trial – was issued through the Shin Bet. He was released in August and is currently under house arrest at a ranch near the West Bank settlement of Itamar.
At this stage, he has not being indicted for the offenses the security forces attribute to him.
The Shin Bet said in response to the 16-year-old activist’s case: “First, it should be noted that it involves a minor and it is [therefore] not possible to provide details regarding the criminal proceedings that were conducted. It should be noted that the order confining the minor to house arrest was issued by the [IDF] Northern Front commander, in light of information regarding [the suspect’s] involvement in serious violent activity while violating restrictions imposed on him in a prior administration order and to prevent him from continuing activity that was endangering the security of the state and the public.”
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