(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Two Israeli-Arab brothers arrested by PA police last month on drug charges were held without charge for a month and subject to torture, their attorneys said Tuesday, when they appeared in court for the first time in Israel.
Israel Police said the brothers, Rajeb and Muhammed Hadad, were arrested by Palestinian Authority police on November 11 during a drug raid in the industrial area of Beitunya, near Ofer Prison in the West Bank. In the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, St.-Sgt Maj. Moshe Cohen said the Palestinian officers found “equipment for making and processing marijuana” and that both of the two men were arrested along with two Palestinians from the West Bank.
Cohen said the Palestinian police said the two suspects confessed to the allegations, though both of them denied the allegations under Israeli police questioning, and attempted to provide an alibi.
On Monday, both men were handed over to police from the Judea and Samaria District at a West Bank checkpoint, along with the investigative material collected over the past month by Palestinian police.
In court on Tuesday, attorney Umayer Marid said the two brothers were arrested for assaulting a police officer and the drug charges were fabricated.
He and attorney Fares Mustafa, both from the public defender's officer, also stated that their clients underwent torture at the hands of PA investigators including being suspended upside down from the ceiling by their feet, and deprived of sleep, food and the ability to shower. They were also not brought before a judge for the entire month, the lawyers stated.
“The ones who should be investigated are the Palestinian Authority police. Even if there are suspicions of drug crimes, that is not a green light to harm them physically and mentally and jail them in the most desperate of conditions,” Marid said.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Judge Joya Skappa-Shapiro said that due to the allegations of violence at the hands of Palestinian police and the shortage of evidence, she decided to deny the police request to keep the two brothers on house arrest for 20 days, and ordered them sent to three days house arrest only, while police continue to work the case.