A-G offers Amona witnesses immunity

Offer good only if those complaining against cops were not themselves violent.

amona girls 298 tovah (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
amona girls 298 tovah
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz promised immunity to anyone wishing to complain against police brutality or witnesses to such events at the Amona evacuation as long they did not take an active part in violence, even though their presence at the illegal protest was itself a violation of the law, according to letters from the Attorney-General's office that surfaced on Thursday. The matter came up again regarding the arrest of a 15-year-old girl during violent protests in Hebron last week over the construction of a wall to protect a Palestinian-owned building inside the Jewish quarter. Police served an indictment against the girl for being present at the demonstration and asked the court to remand her in custody until the end of proceedings after she refused to agree to conditions for her release from jail on the grounds that she did not recognize the authority of the state. On Wednesday, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court rejected the remand request and sent her home after ordering her and her parents to provide guarantees. According to Attorney Chaim Cohen, who represents the Human Rights in Judea and Samaria organization, the promise of immunity was made in letters sent to him on March 12 and March 23 signed by Ran Nizri, the chief assistant to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz. In the letter, Nizri wrote, "The Attorney-General, in his appearance before the parliamentary committee to investigate the events at Amona, made it clear there was no reason for concern that criminal measures would be taken against anyone filing a complaint regarding the fact that he was present during the evacuation procedure. It should be stressed…that we are talking about taking measures against someone who was in the area, not someone who committed a crime of violence or assault." Cohen explained that he had asked for the guarantee so that those with grievances could complain and witnesses could testify without fear of retaliation by the police. He told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that this agreement should apply in the case of the 15-year-old in Hebron whose only alleged crime was that she was present during the demonstration. The teenager was one of 17 girls arrested after the demonstration. Most of them are accused of using violence, but she and three others were only accused of being present at the protest. Four of the 17 girls initially refused to sign the document including the conditions for their release on the grounds that they did not recognize the authority of the state. In the end, she was one of only two girls who remained in jail because they refused to sign. The other girl has been charged with using violence and her trial is due to start on Friday. Cohen and Orit Struck, head of the Human Rights in Judea, Samaria and Gaza organization, charged that the girl should not have been arrested in the first place, since she has not been accused of taking part in the violence. Having been arrested, she should have been released unconditionally, they maintained.