3 released, 1 detention extended in Shin Bet case against Jewish activists

The four were first arrested on January 1 and have alleged that the Shin Bet violated their rights during interrogation.

Price tag attack in Far'ata on December 20, 2019. (photo credit: FAR'ATA COUNCIL)
Price tag attack in Far'ata on December 20, 2019.
(photo credit: FAR'ATA COUNCIL)
Three out of four suspects were released on Monday from Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) custody, with one suspect’s detention extended until Thursday, in the latest case pending against right-wing activists.
The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court issued the decisions regarding the detainees in a case that has seen at least one suspect prevented from meeting with his lawyer for six days and phrases like “Jewish terrorism” tossed around.
With the latest court decision, the chances of actual terrorism charges being filed seemed to drop considerably, although the door could still be open regarding the one detainee whose detention was extended through Thursday.
The four were arrested on January 1 and have alleged that the Shin Bet roughed them up and violated their rights during interrogation, including sleep deprivation.
Last week, a series of seemingly contradictory rulings were issued by the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court and by the higher Lod District Court concerning whether their rights were violated.
Most of the information is still under gag order pending the Shin Bet probe.
Prior to those rulings, the Supreme Court had endorsed the Shin Bet’s blocking the detainees from meeting with their lawyers in the early days of the case.
Since meeting with lawyers is a right that is only suspended in security cases, there has been speculation about whether the charges against the suspect might go beyond mere graffiti “price tag” attacks to outright violence and terrorism against Arabs.
However, Monday’s ruling appeared to be a setback against law enforcement, and a group of Honenu (legal aid organization) lawyers representing the detainees and led by Adi Keidar demanded a probe of how the Shin Bet has treated their clients.
Keidar has accused the Shin Bet of arbitrarily arresting right-wing activists to show it is doing something to combat a recent increase in price-tag incidents against Arabs.
Honenu does not necessarily dispute that price-tag attacks have occurred. It disputes whether the agency has any evidence against the persons it arrested and the severity of the actions in question.
The Shin Bet on Monday reiterated its weekend statement that all four detainees’ rights were being preserved and that “claims from interested parties about violation of detainees’ rights are baseless and designed to present a false public impression to delegitimize the Shin Bet.”
The agency said all of its actions follow court-approved guidelines and those of the State Prosecutor’s Office.
It said the Shin Bet “would continue to act to thwart terrorism as terrorism,” usually a code phrase to say it will stop Jewish terrorists the same as it stops Palestinian terrorists.