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The Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday awarded right-wing extremist Noam Federman tens of thousands of shekels in damages because he was remanded in custody for 46 days and then held in administrative detention and house detention for two years during the hearing of a criminal indictment the state ultimately withdrew.
The damages were awarded for the estimated fees that he paid for legal representation and for the days he was held in jail, and administrative and house detention by the authorities between his arrest and early remand in custody until the abrupt end of the trial more than two years later, on May 11, 2004.
"The prolongation of the judicial proceedings caused injury to his life routine and left him for two years in a state of uncertainty regarding his fate, while he faced the possibility of a harsh indictment which called for punishments of up to 10 years for the first and second charge, and 15 years for the third," wrote the judge, Moshe Drori.
It marked the first time that the court has awarded damages to a defendant. For the time he was held in administrative and house detention Drori estimated that Federman should receive 90 percent of 45 percent of the average daily wage (NIS 282) for the time he spent in administrative detention and ninety percent of 11.25 percent for the time he was held in house detention. He also received 90 percent of $45,000 to compensate him for lawyers' fees.
At one point in the 70-page ruling, Drori referred to the personal hardships that the various restrictions on his freedom had caused Federman.
"[Federman] was caused injury which requires compensation in order to restore the situation to what it was before the restriction of his freedom, both with regard to the money he spent on his lawyers and with regard to the damage to his health (as a result of his harsh incarceration in the Shin Bet facility), his good name and his family," wrote Drori.
"Regarding the latter, [Federman] emphasized the anguish caused him during his daughter's bat-mitzva in his home town of Jerusalem, when he was under police supervision and handcuffed. One must take this humane matter into account."
Federman, who had completed three years of law school, defended himself during the latter part of the proceedings against him.
He was arrested in connection with the Bat Ayin affair, in which a group of right-wing extremists plotted to explode a bomb outside a Palestinian girls' high school in east Jerusalem. Federman was suspected of supplying the conspirators with weapons.
One of the conspirators, Yarden Morag, turned state's witness and accused Federman of being involved in the plot. During the following two years, however, Morag kept changing his version of events during testimony in various trials related to the attempted terrorist act. The prosecution ultimately came to the conclusion that he was not a credible witness and withdrew the case against Federman.
Since Federman had already formally responded to the charges against him, the judge fully acquitted him. The acquittal served as the basis for the damages awarded him.
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