Man in handcuffs - illustrative.
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
The Justice Ministry internal affairs department announced the arrests of two border policemen and a soldier for allegedly handcuffing Eritrean and Chinese construction workers in order to steal from them.
The statement, released Tuesday, said the three were suspected of a series of armed robberies against such foreign workers and had been arrested Monday night.
It added that the three were suspected of approaching an as yet unidentified construction site, handcuffing the workers at gun point and stealing their money and property.
Later Tuesday, the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court ordered the three remanded to police custody at least until Thursday afternoon, leaving open the possibility that it may extend their detention again if the police have not finished investigating.
Besides the armed robbery charges, some of the suspects may be indicted for illegal weapons possession and obstruction of justice.
The lawyers argued that if their respective clients were not the ones accused of obstruction of justice, then they should be released to house arrest or on bail immediately.
The prosecution requested an additional seven days of detention for the three until the investigation was completed.
The court’s decision charted a middle path, putting pressure on the police to finish their investigation sooner, but not undermining it by ordering any suspects’ release as yet.
The court also ordered the suspects and the victims to be kept under gag order, over the state’s objection, until an indictment is filed or until the court reverses itself on a later motion.
Lawyers for the suspects said any publication of their names or photos could ruin their careers and their lives, and was not fair since they were all in the middle of obligatory service and not volunteer-elected public servants.
The state objected saying it wanted the names and faces published in order to help motivate more victims to come forward with evidence.
Explaining its decision, the court said it permitted the publication of all the details of the accusations, only holding back the names and faces, such that any victims would have enough information about the story to come forward, while protecting the suspects’ identities until they are indicted.