Man suspected of killing son under house arrest

Mohammed Sarsour released to house arrest after 45 days in custody on suspicion of murdering his son.

July 16, 2012 04:52
2 minute read.

MUHAMMAD SARSUR looks at spot where boy’s body was found 370. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

After 45 days in custody, the Ramle Magistrate’s Court ruled on Sunday to release a father suspected of killing his son to house arrest.

Mohammed Sarsour, from the Arab village of Kafr Kasim east of Tel Aviv, has been remanded in custody since police arrested him 45 days ago on suspicion of involvement in killing his 10-year-old son, Anas.

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A relative discovered Anas’s body in early June, in an olive grove not far from his home, after locals spent hours searching for the missing boy.

Police found signs of violence on the child’s body and suspected foul play. Sarsour was arrested a day later.

A day before the alleged murder, Anas came back from school at noon, ate lunch at home and told his parents he was going to visit his cousin to play. He never reached his cousin’s house and Sarsour went to the police station to report his son’s disappearance.

Since his arrest, the court has extended Sarsour’s detention seven times. Police suspect he was involved in the killing but say they have not yet gathered sufficient evidence to indict him.

In Sunday’s court hearing, police representatives clashed with Sarsour’s attorney, Giora Zilbershtien, over the conditions of Sarsour’s house arrest.

Police asked that Sarsour be released to house arrest outside of Kafr Kasim, because of concerns that he could interrupt the investigation if he were in his home village. The court ruled that Sarsour would be released to house arrest in Kafr Kasim, but said that he will be held for 24 hours in Taiba in order to allow police to file an appeal with the district court.

The court also agreed to a request by Sarsour’s defense attorney that he be allowed to pay a visit to his son’s grave before beginning his house arrest, despite police objections. However, Sarsour is not permitted to visit the grave until after the police appeal.

“I lost my boy. Then I was imprisoned for 40 days. I’ve never been in prison before," a shaken Mahmoud told the media in court. “Let the investigation continue and let them catch who did this,” he added.

Upon his release, Sarsour said “I thank all Israelis, Arabs and Jews who supported me, especially the residents of Kafr Kasim and my attorney Giora Zilbershtien.”

Sarsour’s family have also argued that the father had nothing to do with his son’s death.

Last month, police intensively searched Sarsour’s home, as well as his cellphone activities.

During police questioning, the father was asked why did not cry over his son’s violent death, according to attorney Anwar Fareej, who represented him last month. The attorney slammed the question as illegitimate during a remand hearing in June.

It was “unfeasible that someone who was a good father, who cared and worried for his child, would do something like this,” Fareej said.

Immediately after the hearing, police summoned Sarsour for further questioning.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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