State to consider releasing teen allegedly abused in jail

Court gives prosecutors 30 days to mull dropping charges against American-Israeli youth.

By BY YAAKOV KATZ
February 9, 2010 00:39
1 minute read.
Prison (illustrative)

jail 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Northern state prosecutors were given 30 days by a Krayot court on Monday to consider a request to drop all charges against S., a 17-year-old American-Israeli youth allegedly subjected to police abuse and repeated gang rape at a prison while being temporarily held in custody last November.

S. is accused of possessing a small amount of hashish and of intention to break and enter. 

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Attorney Amir Melzer, who represents S’s family, submitted a formal request for all charges to be dropped in light of S.’s alleged harrowing ordeal.

“I would have expected the prosecution to drop the charges without this stage,” Melzer said after the closed door court session.

“With every legal stage, the series of mistakes that were made regarding this youth are becoming clearer,” he added.

Melzer said the fact that state prosecutors had “wrongly informed a judge that S. was serving a suspended sentence, thereby misleading the judge and leading him to send S. to four days custody in the Kishon Prison,” and the subsequent abuse S. allegedly endured should form enough of a basis to drop all charges immediately.

“The acts by authorities are most scandalous, and the harm that has come to the accused is most severe. We must give weight to the public interest in maintaining the accused’s rights and reining in the powers of the authorities,” Melzer wrote in his request.



Judge Haim Karawani said prosecutors had a month to decide whether to agree.

Outside the court, emotional scenes unfolded as S.’s mother broke down in tears. “Haven’t we suffered enough?” she asked.

Last month, the Knesset’s Interior Affairs and Environment Committee called on the state prosecution to drop all charges.

“I am asking the state prosecution to close this case. This youth does not have faith in state institutions. Take this minimal step,” said committee chairman MK David Azulai during the meeting.

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