Minors arrested in Jewish terror probe denied permission to see their lawyers
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Minors arrested in Jewish terror probe denied permission to see their lawyers

Judges extend order barring attorney visits for additional day, extend detention of three suspects until Sunday in major security investigation under gag order

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

Right wing activists clash with police outside a court hearing in Rishon Lezion, on the matter of the Jewish youth suspects in a major security probe whose details are under gag order on December 31, 2018. (Flash90)
Right wing activists clash with police outside a court hearing in Rishon Lezion, on the matter of the Jewish youth suspects in a major security probe whose details are under gag order on December 31, 2018. (Flash90)

The Lod District Court on Monday rejected an appeal from three Jewish minors arrested in a major security probe to meet with their attorneys.

The judge extended until Tuesday the order barring counsel visits, which has been in effect since the teens were detained on Sunday. However, he agreed to their attorneys’ requests that a probation officer check in on their well-being.

Israeli law allows authorities to delay by up to 21 days an attorney visit for an individual arrested in a security-related crime. The judge will consider a request to extend the order further on Tuesday,

The investigation, whose details are under gag order, is being conducted jointly by the Shin Bet security service and the police’s nationalistic crime unit, which are probing the incident as a possible Jewish terror plot.

Shortly after the decision in Lod, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court extended the remand of the three suspects until Sunday.

Several dozen far-right activists protested in support of the arrested minors outside of the Rishon courthouse Monday, clashing with police who tried to stop them from blocking the road. A police spokesman said one 19-year-old was arrested and one officer was lightly injured.

On Sunday morning, a squad of Shin Bet agents and officers in the Yasam police SWAT unit raided a yeshiva in the northern West Bank and grabbed one student, said a spokesman for the Honenu legal aid group that is representing the detained student.

Shortly thereafter, a second student was arrested on his way to the religious institution, said his attorney, Itamar Ben Gvir.

Hours later, Honenu reported that a third teen was arrested in the central city of Modiin, adding that it would be representing him as well.

Ben Gvir slammed the conduct of Israeli authorities and claimed the Shin Bet agents were likely torturing his client in order to extract a false confession.

Itamar Ben Gvir seen outside a court hearing in Rishon Lezion, on the matter of the Jewish youth suspects in a major security probe whose details are under gag order on December 31, 2018. (Flash90)

The attorney cited a report last week on the “Uvda” TV program that documented the security service’s brutal tactics in extorting admissions of guilt from the Israeli suspects in a terror attack in the central West Bank Palestinian village of Duma, where three members of the Dawabshe family were burned to death in July 2014.

“The order prohibiting my client from a meeting with an attorney was intended precisely for the same purpose of increasing pressure and abuse,” Ben Gvir said in a statement.

The Shin Bet has defended its tactics in the Duma case, saying extreme measures were required — and green-lit by the state — due to the fear that additional attacks were forthcoming.

State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan stood by the authorities’ handling of this week’s case.

“There is a single attitude to terror,” Nitzan said at an economic conference on Monday. “It must be fought by all legal means. Terrorism on both sides endangers state security.”

“We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that only legitimate and reasonable measures are used in the struggle against terrorism. Thus, we supervise the actions of the security forces and examine every complaint filed against them. So we have done in the past and that is what we will do in the future,” he added.

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