Police embarrassed as court releases 19 out of 21 detained in Gaza solidarity protests

The Haifa Magistrate's Court judge said some of the allegations made against the detainees were partial, while others completely groundless.
Arab Israelis and activists protest the arrest of the 21 protesters in Haifa Photo credit: Meir Vaknin, Flash 90

A Haifa court ordered on Sunday that 19 out of 21 people arrested by the Israel Police over the weekend during Gaza solidarity protests be immediately released. In an embarrassing move for the police, Judge Amir Salameh said the allegations against some of the detainees were groundless.

Addressing the police's request to prolong the arrests, Salameh said he could not find any evidence to justify the vandalism charges made against the detainees. In addition, he found no basis to the police's claims that the detainees were either dangerous or likely to obstruct the investigation.

Some detainees were also charged with assaulting a police officer, but according to Salameh, the evidence he received had relied only on reports written by the officers, failing to include the suspects' testimonies, some of whom had claimed they were merely resisting arrest or doing nothing at all.

These suspects, too, Salameh concluded, are not dangerous and there is no justification to place them behind bars. He did, however, order them not to take part in any public gathering for the next 15 days.

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