Court to consider releasing defendant in Duma terror trial
Discussions on the release of one of the two Jewish terror suspects in the 2015 firebombing that left 3 members of a Palestinian family dead to be held Sunday, days after court ruled that some of the defendant’s confessions were obtained under duress.
Lawyers representing the defendant, who was 17 at the time of the attack, asked the court to consider granting him release after the Lod District Court ruled Tuesday that confessions given by him in the Shin Bet-led investigation that were obtained under duress were not admissible in the ongoing trial.
On July 31, 2015, Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Dawabsheh family's house in the village in the northern West Bank, killing an 18-month-old child, Ali, and critically wounded a four-year-old brother and both parents. The parents, Saad and Riham Dawabsheh later succumbed to their wounds.
According to the lawyers representing the defendant, whose identity remains under a gag order, the Supreme Court decided a month and a half ago that the Probation Service would produce a report on the matter to examine the validity of releasing him. The legal teams are expecting the court to acquiesce to their demands that he be released.
The Lod District Court ruled on Tuesday that the majority of confessions given by the two alleged Jewish terrorists, are admissible, bar those which were obtained under duress or by “special means.”
The publication of further details on the precise meaning of “special means” has been subjected to a gag order but the central defendant’s confession and reconstruction of the attack has been deemed admissible by the court.
While only one of his confessions was thrown out, the evidence against him remains robust.
Matters are considered more complex for the second defendant. A ruse used to get him to talk will remain admissible (he confessed to charges that are unrelated to the Duma incident, such as arson of a church and membership in a terror organization).
Another confession given by the minor on Duma “hypothetically”—without mentioning of names, but with a general description of the act—will also remain admissible. All of the other confessions he provided were disqualified, even if there was no force involved in their extraction.
The minor also stands accused of conspiring to commit a murder but not of the murder itself. It is currently believed that in the end, the unnamed suspect did not take part in the actual firebombing but was involved in its planning.
The lawyer representing the minor, Zion Amir, said that he believed his client would be released shortly from his arrest after two years in custody.