"In the middle of Shabbat they came and detained me for no reason," said the 19-year-old suspected of aggravated assault during a brawl in Jerusalem, in which a 17-year-old Arab man was seriously injured.
On Sunday, police arrested four additional teens on suspicion of involvement in the assault.
The suspects, three boys, ages 13, 15 and 17, and a 15-year-old girl were taken in for questioning and will be brought in front of a judge for a remand hearing on Monday.
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The mother of the child, who lives in near Jerusalem, said her son is "a good boy and a little naughty." The mother noted that her 13-year-old son "doesn’t hate Arabs at all. When he came home he told me about the incident and he was really terrified. He said that the boy who was injured also has a mother who is crying for him."
On Sunday, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court extended the remand of the 19-year-old suspect, a Jewish man living in Jerusalem, by four days. The suspect, on his part, denied any involvement in the attack: "I was in the area, but while the incident was taking place I was elsewhere. I have no idea why they arrested me."
A police representative said during the hearing that the assault "was simply a lynch. The victim lost his consciousness and was considered dead until paramedics came and resuscitated him." He also noted that hundreds witnessed the assault.
The suspect's attorney, Ariel Atari, said that the young man was with a friend during the brawl. "The police could easily corroborate his whereabouts by locating his cell-phone at the time," Atari argued. According to the attorney, a few hours before the incident, the suspect broke up another fight that was taking place midtown, "which can attest to his nature as a man of peace."
Jerusalem. The suspect brought to court (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
On Saturday, dozens marched from Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu's residence to Zion square, where the incident occurred, protesting against government and police conduct on nationalist crimes.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the incident: "I fully condemn any form of violence, both physical and verbal, and I'm sure that the police will find the attackers. Bareket urged to "sustain coexistence in the city, work towards appeasement and thwart violence, along with Jerusalem's silent majority and everyone who seeks coexistence."
Scene of brutal assault in Jerusalem's Zion Square (Photo: Avraham Bergman, 24 News)
The victim, an east Jerusalem resident, has woken up from his coma on Saturday. He could not remember who assaulted him or any other detail relating to the incident. Police said they would check security camera footage as part of their investigation.
"I was surprised to be in the hospital," the victim told Ynet. "I still don't know why I'm here." He added that he does not know whether he was assaulted by Jews.
"I don't remember anything. All I remember is being in Hebron and waking up in the hospital with aches all over my body. I'm constantly shivering."
The victim's mother noted that the family fears for her son's life. "My son went out with his friends to buy clothes for the holiday and once they arrived on the scene they were attacked by racist Jews for no reason," she said.
"We all know police forces were present near the scene but they did not intervene, despite the fact that if it had been an Arab who slapped a Jew, we would have seen large forces arriving and the whole country flamed against Arabs."
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