The military prosecution suggested this week that affecting international public opinion was grounds for arrest during as hearing against four Nahal Haredi soldiers suspected of pointing a weapon at a detained Palestinian.
The military prosecutor said that in weighing in on the arrest one should take into account the "moral blockade" Israel is under and noted that "the severity of acts is tested within the context of our reality."
The military defender's office was outraged at the suggestions claiming that the soldiers do no belong in jail and that there are no grounds for an indictment.
Photos of ex-soldier Eden Aberjil posing next to Palestinian detainees and the international response to the publication have caused the Israel Defense Forces to be extra-sensitive in handling acts which may prompt angry international response.
Several soldiers of the Netzah Yehuda Battalion (Nahal Haredi) are currently in custody after photos of them posing with a handcuffed Palestinian were found on their mobile phones. The photos were apparently taken in Jenin in January 2010.
Soldiers photographed next to Palestinian detainee
World opinion has caused the prosecution to go at full force against the haredi soldiers, who unlike Aberjil were members of the IDF at the time the photos were revealed.
"We are being scrutinized at a time where we as an army and country are living under a type of moral blockade following the Goldstone Report and the Marmara affair. The severity of the acts is seen beyond their specific nature."
The statements caused a stir in the military defender's office and among the attorneys representing the soldiers. Captain Yuval Kagan said that "the cat is out of the bag" and protested the prosecution's wish to jail the soldiers for fear of European public opinion. The judge refrained from addressing the issue and ordered the suspects be remanded further in order to allow investigators to complete the investigation.
Filing an indictment
The military prosecution is slated to file an indictment against the soldiers on Thursday on charges of abuse or illegal use of weapons. Two of the defense attorneys claimed there was no room for a criminal hearing as no person was hurt in the event. "These are soldiers who had their photographs taken next to one of the detainees without wishing to harm or humiliate him," Attorney Shlomi Tzipori stated.
Another soldier who is suspected of being involved in hitting a Palestinian - an incident recorded on a mobile phone - was released from custody after no evidence were found linking him to the affair. The Investigating Military Police continues its efforts to locate the soldiers who took part in the abuse.
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