Far-right teen suspect released after 13 days without seeing attorney
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Far-right teen suspect released after 13 days without seeing attorney

17-year-old claims he was sexually harassed by Shin Bet interrogator, has required psychiatric treatment since arrest

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

An imam at a mosque in the Palestinian village of Aqraba in the northern West Bank looks at the damages done from a price-tag arson attack on April 13, 2018. (Zacharia Sadeh/ Rabbis for Human Rights)
An imam at a mosque in the Palestinian village of Aqraba in the northern West Bank looks at the damages done from a price-tag arson attack on April 13, 2018. (Zacharia Sadeh/ Rabbis for Human Rights)

Nearly two weeks since his imprisonment, during which he was prevented from seeing an attorney, police on Sunday released to house arrest a 17-year-old from Bnei Brak suspected of carrying out so-called “price tag” attacks against Palestinian villages.

A second minor from the northern West Bank was also freed, though charges against him are believed to be less severe, given that he was permitted attorney visitation since being detained.

The pair was nabbed on May 29 in Bnei Brak along with two other minors who were released later that day.

Police have since issued a gag order on publishing further details of the investigation.

During an appearance in front of the Rishon Lezion juvenile court last week, the 17-year-old suspect told the judge that he had been sexually harassed during his interrogation by a Shin Bet investigator.

Illustrative: A member of the “hilltop youth” rides a donkey at an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank. (Credit: Zman Emet, Kan 11)

The judge updated the boy’s attorney, Adi Kedar from the Honenu legal aid organization, who immediately filed a complaint with the Justice Ministry regarding the interrogator’s alleged misconduct.

According to Honenu, the teen’s psychological state has also declined considerably since his arrest.

While the Rishon Lezion court judge extended his remand last week until Sunday, he ordered that the minor receive a psychiatric exam, during which he was prescribed anti-anxiety medication.

Barring attorney visitation, while rare, is a tactic used by the Shin Bet security service in nationalistic-related crimes. The measure requires approval from the chief justice of the district court, as well as the attorney general.

The arrest of the minor came amid a wave of dozens of hate attacks against Palestinians in recent months, which have included the chopping down of dozens of olive trees, the torching of a mosque, stones thrown through car windows, the slashing of tires, and graffiti calling for the murder of Arabs.

Settlers in the West Bank also suffered property damage in a number of recent incidents blamed on Palestinians. Last month, 150 grapevines belonging to the Jordan Valley settlement of Tomer were chopped down, and the cherry orchards at the settlement of Kfar Etzion were torched. Residents of both communities said Palestinians in neighboring villages were responsible for the damage.

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