State appeals Hebron shooter's release

State Prosecution dissatisfied with J'lem court's placing Braude under house arrest.

hebron shooter Braude 248.88 ch 2 (photo credit: Channel 2)
hebron shooter Braude 248.88 ch 2
(photo credit: Channel 2)
The State Prosecution on Friday appealed to the Supreme Court against the previous day's decision by the Jerusalem District Court to hold Ze'ev Braude, the Kiryat Arba man who wounded two Palestinians in Hebron last week, under house arrest alone. On Thursday, a day after Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Malka Aviv rejected the state's request to remand Braude in custody until he is indicted on the charge of assault with aggravated intent, Jerusalem District Court Judge Orit Efaal-Gabay partially accepted the state's appeal and ordered him placed under house arrest. However, a dissatisfied State Prosecution called for Braude to return to police custody and remain there until a decision on an indictment is made. The State Prosecution claimed that Braude posed a danger to society and that he should never have been released since he chose to turn off the path [leading to the disputed building on Worshipers Way] and get into a confrontation with a Palestinian man which culminated in him deliberately shooting one of the man's relatives. The State Prosecution said that due to the danger Braude posed, he should not be released from custody until basic clarification of the evidence in the case. Following Friday's appeal, Braude's lawyer, Ariel Atias, requested a postponement of the hearing until next week due to the fact that his client was undergoing medical treatment. Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, accepted the request and set the hearing for Sunday. In Thursday's magistrate's court decision, Efaal-Gabay wrote that although there were extenuating circumstances working in Braude's favor, "his conduct must not be taken lightly. We can't ignore the way he chose to turn off the path and start a violent confrontation with local residents in sensitive and explosive circumstances, while he was carrying a revolver." This conduct, which Braude could not explain, was at the core of the danger he posed, wrote Efaal-Gabay. At this early point in the proceedings, the judge tentatively accepted the version of events presented by Jerusalem District Prosecutor Dan Bahat. According to Bahat, Braude stepped off the path he was on, headed in the direction of a Palestinian house and shouted at the Palestinians to stay inside. He then accosted two Palestinians and punched each of them while holding the revolver in his hand. The Palestinians attacked him only after he had fired two shots, wounding one man. Braude held on to his pistol even after he was attacked by the Palestinians. Bahat maintained that from the looks of it, they had acted in self defense. The attorney added that Braude gave the police three contradictory versions of the incident. In his first account, he said four Palestinians had surrounded him, failing to mention that he had punched two men and opened fire with his revolver before they attacked him. Only in the third version did he try to explain why had had diverged from the path to the disputed building. In that version, he mentioned for the first time that another Jew had been walking nearby. He said he stepped off the path because the Jew was heading toward the Palestinian house and he wanted to warn him not to walk in that direction because it was dangerous. Atias presented a contradictory version in which the Palestinians he punched had walked toward him carrying rocks in their hands. He also said Braude had opened fire in self defense. Atias said that while the incident had occurred on Thursday, and despite the fact that police knew that it was Braude who had shot the Palestinians, they did not immediately arrest him even though they knew where he lived. They waited instead until Braude turned himself in on Saturday night. That was how dangerous they really considered him, said Atias. During the hearing at the magistrate's court the previous day, judge Malka Aviv had charged that the police had been biased against Braude because they had not arrested any of the Palestinians whom, she charged, had tried to lynch him. She also ruled that it was doubtful Braude was responsible for the incident, that he was regular citizen and family man and that she was certain he would never get involved in a situation like this again. Although the appeal hearing was held on Thursday, the state actually submitted the indictment to Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday. Now, before Braude's trial begins, the district court will hold another hearing on the state's request to remand the suspect in custody, this time until the end of judicial proceedings against him.