Aviad Glickman | YNet News
8 June 2009
The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office plans in the coming days to renege on an indictment filed against Ze’ev Braude, who was accused of firing at an Arab family during the evacuation of a disputed building in the West Bank city of Hebron in December 2008.
Ynet learned on Monday afternoon that the decision was made following the State’s refusal to disclose evidence defined as classified information during the trial.
Braude, who has been under house arrest in the past few months, was indicted for shooting and injuring two Palestinians during a clash with an Arab family living in Hebron. Part of the incident was documented in a video published later by several media outlets.
About three months ago Braude’s lawyer, Attorney Ariel Atari, appealed the Supreme Court, asking to receive classified information from the State Prosecutor’s Office. About a month and a half later, the State Prosecutor’s Office informed the court that it was unable to disclose the information or reveal any further details on its content, as this could endanger the State’s security.
The classified material was revealed in a Supreme Court discussion presided by Justice Elyakim Rubinstein. The judge ruled that “a proper procedure cannot be held where there is material which the defense cannot be given the opportunity to use for its own needs. Revealing the material for the sake of doing justice is preferable than the interest in not revealing it.”
According to Rubinstein, the secret information does not appear to damage the State’s stance, but may change the ruling on the matter under certain circumstances.
However, the State Prosecutor’s Office did not give up, threatening to renege on the charges filed against Braude should Rubinstein order it to reveal the material.
B’Tselem: Violent settler evading punishment
Following the threat, the judge announced that the State had decided that the price of revealing the material overpowered the public interest in holding the trial, and that therefore there was no longer a need to reveal the classified information.
The Justice Ministry said in response, “The court made its decision, and we are studying and examining it.”
Attorney Atari said that “canceling the indictment against Braude does real justice with the defendant. Braude acted out of self-defense, and the material in the State’s possession could have established his acquittal. Therefore we welcome the decision.”
Following the decision, the B’Tselem human rights organization demanded that the State Prosecutor’s Office go back on its decision.
“It’s intolerable that a violent settler would evade punishment and be allowed to continue risking lives, although his crime has been caught on tape. If the State refuses to reveal the investigation material, it must find alternative ways to judge Braude according to the letter of the law, but canceling the indictment is not a legitimate alternative.”