Israeli Court Releases Jewish Terror Suspect After More Serious Allegations Were Dismissed

The 18-year-old suspect, who was arrested by the Shin Bet in connection to the Duma arson-murder case, was placed under house arrest.

Right-wing activists demonstrating outside the The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court, December 27, 2015.
Moti Milrod

The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court on Monday released one of the suspects in a West Bank arson-murder case to house arrest, after all the more serious suspicions against him proved baseless.

Police said they planned to indict him for assaulting Palestinians.

The suspect, 18, who frequented the Baladim outpost near the West Bank's Kochav Hashachar settlement, was arrested a month ago by the Shin Bet and was blocked from meeting with his lawyer for 18 days.

He was questioned on suspicion he was involved in the Duma arson attack that killed three members of the Dawabsheh family, but after a month of interrogation the case against him fizzled out. However, during questioning it emerged that the youth had been involved in a scuffle two years ago in which he and others beat a Palestinian man near the outpost.

Police submitted an intent-to-prosecute declaration and asked to extend his remand until he was charged, but the court rejected the request and sent the youth to house arrest. Police have appealed his release to the district court.

Two intent-to-prosecute declarations were meant to be issued Monday against the main Duma suspect and another suspect, but they were not submitted in the end and their remands were extended for two days. Prosecutors were still debating whether the second suspect can be charged with murder for his small role in the incident.

The Honenu organization, which is representing the released youth, said the shame of the prosecution and police had been exposed.

“This is a scandal. After 29 days of harsh interrogation by the Shin Bet, shaking, sleep deprivation, and physical and emotional abuse, it turns out that the only claim against this teenager is that he was involved in a brawl with Bedouin nearly two years ago. We hope that an investigative committee will be established to examine the conduct of the Shin Bet and the State of Israel’s other enforcement authorities in this case,” the organization said.

The youth’s family said: “After 30 days in which our son suffered brutal abuse that included humiliation and harsh violence it turns out that he is accused of involvement in a brawl from two years ago. All the Shin Bet justifications for abusing our son as if he was a suspect in the Duma murder proves our claims that the Shin Bet has been lying and deceiving the legal system and the public."