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Israeli forces release Palestinian bystander detained after Jerusalem stabbing

May 20, 2017 11:00 P.M. (Updated: May 21, 2017 9:35 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian who was detained for allegedly failing to help thwart a stabbing attack in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City a week ago was released from Israeli custody on Saturday.

Kifah Daana told Ma'an that upon his release, the Israeli magistrate's court sentenced him to a ten-day house arrest, banned him from entering the Old City for one month, and fined him with a 2,000-shekel ($558) bail, despite having no charges brought against him.

The 34-year-old juice stand owner and resident of the Old City was detained on May 13, shortly after an Israeli policeman shot and killed Jordanian citizen Muhammad al-Skaji, who stabbed and injured the police officer.

An Israeli police spokesperson said at the time that Daana "saw from the beginning that an attack was about to happen, but did not lift a single finger to try and prevent it from happening," and that he also prevented a passersby from trying to come to the aid of the policeman.

However according to Daana, he had been working at his juice stand near the Chain Gate marketplace as usual, when he witnessed what he thought was an average street fight between a man and an Israeli police officer, he told Ma'an on Saturday.

He said that he had seen "three Israeli settlers" try to intervene before he also attempted to intervene and moved the Israelis out of the way. The police officer, who had been stabbed, then fired three or four gunshots at al-Skaji, Daana said.

"I had no idea what was going on," Daana told Ma'an. Soon after the shooting, Israeli forces searched and detained him at gunpoint. Israeli officers first took him to a police station near the Chain Gate, where he was handcuffed and blindfolded, before he was moved to an interrogation center, he said.

Daana said he was interrogated several times during his week spent in Israeli custody, and consistently denied all charges, which prompted the judge to order his release. He highlighted that his juice stand was also confiscated, despite the fact that it was licensed by Israel's Jerusalem municipality two years ago.
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