IDF not appealing military court order to release B’Tselem activist

Nasser Nawaja is expected to be released Monday or Tuesday, along with PA-sympathizers Ezra Nawi and Guy Boteva.

Gavel [Illustrative] (photo credit: INIMAGE)
Gavel [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INIMAGE)
The IDF will not appeal a Judea military court order from Sunday to release B’Tselem activist Nasser Nawaja.
Nawaja was arrested last week along with Ezra Nawi and Guy Boteva on suspicion of conspiring to murder a land dealer by turning him over to the PA’s Preventative Security Service for selling West Bank land to Jews.
The IDF prosecution had sought a stay of the court’s order on Sunday to potentially appeal to the West Bank Military Appeals Court, but has ultimately decided not to fight the order, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Nawaja will be released along with Nawi and Boteva who were previously ordered released by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Sunday about two weeks after being arrested for the same suspicions following an investigative report on Channel 2’s Uvda investigative news program.
Nawi’s lawyer, Eitan Peleg, and Nawaja’s lawyer, Gabi Lasky, have attacked the arrests throughout as political crusades in the guise of criminal investigations.
The arrests earlier this month came after Uvda aired an episode in which Nawi was caught on hidden camera talking about how he sets up Palestinian land brokers looking to sell land to Jews, and turns them over to Palestinian Authority security.
He can be heard in the video boasting about how they are later tortured and murdered.
It is implied that a Palestinian named Abu Halil was allegedly killed through this process after trying to make a deal with a Jewish buyer referred to in the program as “Yonatan.”
At Sunday’s Judea military court hearing, Lasky and Judge Rani Amar questioned police officer Avi Tivoni about what evidence they had against Nawaja.
In particular, B’Tselem said they asked if there was evidence that Nawaja was connected with the death of Abu Halil or if any harm came to the Jewish buyer.
Tivoni indicated, according to B’Tselem, that there was no evidence connecting Nawaja to Halil or to any harm coming to Yonatan, leading Lasky to call his answer “incredible. Since according to the answer there is no evidence of a crime."
She also accused the police of using Nawaja to go on a “fishing expedition to examine what might happen [generally] to people whose names are given to the Palestinian Authority.”
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge David Shaul Gabbai Richter’s Sunday order rejecting the police’s request to keep Nawi in custody an additional six days was due to his seeing no reason to suspect that he will tamper with the investigation or pose public danger if released to house arrest.
Prior to the final order to release Nawaja, there had been high stakes legal maneuvering with the police initially bringing him to an Israeli civilian court along with Nawi and Boteva, not thinking through that a civilian court would have no basis to hear a case about Nawaja, a Palestinian.
The police essentially just brought all three suspects together thinking they were part of one investigation.
When the police tried to bring Nawaja to the Judea military court to extend his detention, his lawyer, Lasky, refused to attend, claiming that since he had been ordered released by a civilian court, the military courts could not rehear the issue.
When the Judea military court ordered an initial extension (prior to its latest order rejecting an additional extension), Lasky filed an extremely unusual petition for habeas corpus to the High Court of Justice demanding it intervene since Nawaja’s case was ruled on by a civilian court.
The High Court rejected the petition indicating that Lasky should appeal first to the West Bank Military Court of Appeals, but Lasky instead appeared on Sunday in the hearing leading to Nawaja’s release.
Ben Hartman contributed to this report.