ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Haifa court releases mother of baby found locked in cage

Court says children can be returned to her care; prosecution sources say it’s unlikely charges will be filed

A one-year-old baby inside a metal cage, found by police during a drug search operation at an apartment building in Haifa, January 15, 2023. (Israel Police)
A one-year-old baby inside a metal cage, found by police during a drug search operation at an apartment building in Haifa, January 15, 2023. (Israel Police)

The Haifa Magistrate’s court on Friday ordered the release of a woman who had been held since police discovered her toddler locked inside a metal cage during a drug search in an apartment building in the northern city.

The step was taken with the agreement of police. The woman had been arrested on Sunday on charges of false imprisonment, neglect and abuse of a helpless minor.

She was released without any conditions and there was no impediment to returning all her children to her care, the court said.

The charges have not yet been repealed, but it was unlikely that the prosecution would bring a case against her, sources told the Kan public broadcaster.

The incident started on Sunday, when police found the 16-month-old boy in the enclosure, with only a pillow and a bottle. The baby’s five other siblings were also located in the apartment.

The 35-year-old mother was not present when they arrived at the home.

Municipal welfare officers were dispatched to the home to take care of the child and his siblings.

“As I have said since Sunday, this is a case with no criminal element. It’s no coincidence that the police recommended she be released without condition. the recommendation speaks for itself,” said the woman’s lawyer, Daniel Dravitsky.

The woman’s sister told Kan that there was no negligence and that she had placed the boy in the cage for a few minutes only while she went to hang laundry on the roof in order to protect the child who “is really wild and doesn’t understand anything.”

“All the children are fine and there is no neglect here,” she said.

During the operation, police also arrested two men, aged 22 and 27, in a different apartment inside the same building after finding substances suspected to be crystal meth and hashish in commercial quantities.

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