Military Tribunal Orders Hebron Boy Released After Family Can't Pay Bail

The military tribunal at Ofer Prison yesterday ordered that a 13-year-old Hebron boy held for allegedly throwing stones at soldiers be released without bail.

The boy had been in jail for nine days because his father could not pay the NIS 2,000 bail.

Judge Eti Adar yesterday reversed the decision of Judge Naftali Shlomovitz, who last Tuesday conditioned the boy's release on the bail, so that he would appear in court should he be charged.

Haaretz reported that the boy's father is a municipal road repairman for the Hebron municipality. He told Shlomovitz that he did not have the money for bail.

At yesterday's hearing, the prosecutors, Tamar Bukia and Ronen Shor, insisted that the boy be released only after bail is paid, arguing that his family had not even tried to find the money.

Attorney Iyad Misk of the children's rights group Defense for Children International asked that the boy be released without bail for two reasons: because contrary to military orders prohibiting minors from being held with adults, the boy, known as A.M., was being held alongside adults; and because his father could not afford the bail. Misk said a minor could not be kept in custody just because his family is poor.

Adar found that A.M. was indeed being held with adults, and ordered that he be released in exchange for a third-party guarantee of NIS 5,000, which the father also signed.

Israel Defense Forces soldiers arrested A.M. and his 11-year-old brother on February 27, The younger brother was released seven hours later. A.M. was brought for a remand hearing four days after the arrest, on March 2. The prosecution initially demanded that A.M. be held until an indictment was issued, but then agreed that he be released in exchange for bail of NIS 5,000, which the judge reduced to NIS 2,000.

The court minutes mistakenly show Arad as the remand judge; however, the judge who remanded A.M. was in fact Shlomovitz.