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Duma detainee to be indicted for assault on Arab 2 years ago

Ahead of indictment, suspect set to be released after 29 days in custody; families of suspects condemn Dawabsha murders, ‘hasty’ arrests

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

File: Right-wing activists protest in downtown Jerusalem against the alleged torture of Jewish teens held by the Shin Bet security service suspected of carrying out a deadly firebombing attack, which killed three members of the Dawabsha family in the West Bank town of Duma in July, on” December 27, 2015. (Flash90)
File: Right-wing activists protest in downtown Jerusalem against the alleged torture of Jewish teens held by the Shin Bet security service suspected of carrying out a deadly firebombing attack, which killed three members of the Dawabsha family in the West Bank town of Duma in July, on” December 27, 2015. (Flash90)

A Jewish detainee who has been held by the Shin Bet security agency for 29 days in connection to the fatal firebombing in Duma is set to be indicted, but not for the attack in the West Bank village in July.

The prosecution Monday submitted a statement on its intention to indict one of the Jewish suspects in custody for an attack on an Arab youth two years ago. He was set to be released from prison, according to Israel Radio.

No further details were released.

According to MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), the suspect was barred from seeing a lawyer for 18 days.

The prosecution confirmed that it would not file a declaration of intent to indict the suspects in the deadly firebombing on Monday, though the indictments were expected to be handed down this week.

Families of extremist Jews suspected of involvement in the Duma firebombing attack have condemned the attack but demanded a parliamentary inquiry into claims that the suspects were tortured while in the custody of the Shin Bet security service.

“We, parents of the youths detained on suspicion of the murder in Duma village, condemn the act of murder but are convinced that our children were not involved,” the parents said in a statement Monday, according to the pro-settler news site Israel National News.

Saad and Riham Dawabsha, with baby Ali. All three died when the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma was firebombed, by suspected Jewish extremists, on July 31, 2015 (Channel 2 screenshot)
Saad and Riham Dawabsha, with baby Ali. All three died when the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma was firebombed, by suspected Jewish extremists, on July 31, 2015 (Channel 2 screenshot)

Riham and Saad Dawabsha and their 18-month-old baby Ali died in the July 31 attack on their home in Duma in the West Bank — Ali in the blaze started by the firebomb and his parents in the following days. The sole surviving member of the family, five-year-old Ahmed, is being treated for severe burns in an Israeli hospital.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people protested against the alleged torture outside the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court, also on Monday, as six suspected Jewish terrorists appeared for a hearing on extending their remand.

Police closed nearby streets to traffic and the right-wing legal aid organization Honenu reported that two demonstrators were arrested.

A right-wing Jewish activist protests outside a court hearing in Petah Tikva, December 28, 2015, on the matter of the Jewish youths arrested for involvement in an arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma, earlier this summer, in which three members of the Dawabshe family were killed. (Photo by Flash90)
A right-wing Jewish activist protests outside a court hearing in Petah Tikva, December 28, 2015, on the matter of the Jewish youths arrested for involvement in an arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma, earlier this summer, in which three members of the Dawabshe family were killed. (Photo by Flash90)

In their statement, the detainees’ families said that “hasty” arrests were made as the “result of public pressure” following July’s attack.

They said “severe torture” had been applied “so that they would confess to a crime that they didn’t commit.”

The families are demanding a parliamentary inquiry that will probe the testimonies of the detainees and the “severe humiliation” directed at the families, watch all footage of the interrogations, and determine whether the youngsters were abused, as they claim.

Calling on public figures to “show courage” and demand such an inquiry, they condemned what they called the tongue-lashing by politicians and the “automatic accusations” leveled against their children without legal proof or factual evidence.

Charges in connection with the Duma attack are expected this week, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Saturday evening.

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