Mazuz accused of 'unfair' arrest policy

A-G blamed for spearheading harsh policy against pullout foes.

mazuz speaks 298.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
mazuz speaks 298.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Orit Struck, head of the Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria, on Saturday blasted Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz for allegedly spearheading the government's harsh arrest policy against disengagement opponents that was allegedly adopted by the Supreme Court. Struck's comments came following the publication late last week of an internal document drafted by the Public Defender's Office which charged that the courts collaborated with the government by unfairly treating opponents of disengagement to facilitate implementation of the government's plan. The document charged that "the judicial handling of the disengagement detainees strengthens the feeling that the need to deter the plan's opponents and to foil anyone who tried to interfere with it so as to enable [the government] to continue implementing it took precedence over basic rules that must be observed in order to conduct proper criminal procedures." The Public Defender's Office also wrote that "this expressed itself on several levels and begins with the fact that the investigative and arresting authorities adopted a 'trigger happy' policy. This policy won the cooperation of the courts. In the conduct of the state prosecution and in the court procedures, there is an obvious deviation towards the severe compared with the arrest policy conducted in normal times." Responding to a media report which said Mazuz would study the "internal report," Struck said that the examination should be conducted by an external body since Mazuz himself was responsible for the policy criticized in the report. Justice Ministry spokesman Ya'acov Galanti told The Jerusalem Post that the Public Defender's Office document was nothing more than an internal letter which had not yet been discussed by the senior ministry echelon. Galanti said that the report alleging that Mazuz intended to study the report was incorrect and that in fact the report would be discussed and considered like any other internal document before the ministry's official position on the matter was formulated. Two weeks earlier, reports in several newspapers carried partial accounts of the Public Defender's Office letter. The reports did not mention the criticism of Mazuz, focusing only on the criticism of the court's allegedly unfair treatment of minors arrested during disengagement protests. At the time, the Justice Ministry refused to comment on the reports. But they infuriated Courts Administration head Boaz Okun, who demanded that the Public Defender, Inbal Rubinstein, issue a public apology for the letter. On Thursday, Rubinstein did so, distributing a letter to the staff of the Public Defender's Office in which she wrote that "given the fact that the letter was an internal document and [only] a draft, it contained formulations that were general and sweeping. I would like to make it clear that the criticism was aimed at various judicial decisions referred to in the document and that there was no intention of accusing the judges as a whole or the juvenile court judges in particular."
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