UPDATE: The Magistrate’s Court in Petah Tikva on Monday ordered the release of a suspect in the Duma arson murder case after it turned out police had no evidence against him, and was only planning to drag his arrest with a two-year-old charge, according to Honenu legal aid society. The court ordered the suspect be released to house arrest, but delayed carrying out the order, to give police time to prepare an appeal.
The following is our earlier story on the case, when it was not yet clear whether the court would accept the police request for yet another remand against the suspect, who had spent 29 days in his cell without seeing a lawyer or a judge:
For the first time after months without any movement on the Duma arson murders, and after a month of detaining a number of Jewish youths, some of them minors, as suspects in the case, while keeping a gag order on all press references, on Monday the Shabak and the State Attorney have issued a “prosecutor’s statement” to the court against one of the suspects, the Honenu legal aid society announced. As it happens, this first suspect endured 29 days without an attorney, had bouts of vomiting during his interrogation, allegedly due to the brutality of the physical inducement used against him to confess.
A prosecutor’s statement to the court against a given suspect indicates the intention to file an indictment. Issuing the statement is designed to allow law enforcement agencies to complete the indictments, which requires keeping the suspect in detention in order to prevent obstruction. In a sense, it’s the prosecution telling the courts, We know we’ve kept the suspect in for a very long time without offering a shred of real evidence, but if you let us keep him just a little while longer we promise you an indictment.
Except that in this case, after so much has been said about the Shabak squeezing out the detainees’ confessions, having all the facts and weaving them into devastating charges as we speak, it turned out the prosecutor’s statement of intent is not related to the arson murder in Duma, but to a different case altogether.
According to attorney Hai Haber representing the young man who threatens Bart Simpson’s detention record, the young man is not, for the moment, a suspect in the Duma case, but in a brawl he had with a Bedouin close to two years ago.
In what appears like a page from a dirty trick play book, Police are now asking to extend the young man’s detention by a few more days to prepare the indictment for the brawl, but Haber is asking the court to release him immediately, in light of the suffering his client has already endured during his month-long incognito incarceration. Haber is insisting his client be sent home based on his shaky mental state following the interrogation, and the fact that ultimately the purported case against him is based on an incident that occurred a long time ago, when he was a minor, and in which he claims self-defense.
According to Honenu, this sudden shift has more to do with the Shabak looking to justify the brutal treatment of a suspect who turned out not to be connected to the Duma case—by pinning to him an ancient episode from his teen years. In one interrogation, the suspect alleges, a Shabak interrogator grabbed his head and pulled him back until he started vomiting, after being interrogated continuously for 3 days without sleep. Should there be a separate parliamentary investigation of the Shabak in this instance, proving the lad was guilty of something couldn’t hurt.
Meanwhile, Israelis on both sides of the aisle are awaiting breathlessly the real indictments in the Duma case, and as these are, supposedly, being prepared for release towards the weekend, to become fodder for the Friday night news shows, some social network sites are already passing rumors of a new “Champagne,” the code name for the Shabak agent-provocateur who guided the Late Yitzhak Rabin’s murderer, Yigal Amir.