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Supreme Court Overturns Ruling Freeing Three Newspaper Editors

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The Supreme Court Thursday overturned a Jerusalem district court decision to release on bail three left-wing Israeli editors accused of membership in a Palestinian terrorist organization.

As a result of Justice Aharon Barak’s ruling, Assaf Adiv, Michal Schwartz and Roni Ben-Efrat, former editors of the newspaper Derekh Hanitzotz, are to remain in custody until their trial next September.

The newspaper was closed by the authorities three months ago. It was alleged to have been funded by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-oriented splinter group of the Palestine Liberation Organization, led by Jordanian Nayef Hawatme.

The editors were arrested for violating the law against membership in, or contact with, a terrorist group.

District court Judge Eliahu Ben-Zimrah ruled Monday that the three be released on bail. He denied bail, however, to a fourth co-defendant, Yaacov Ben-Efrat.

He said the others had not done “anything illegal” and that even the prosecution concedes their acts did not go beyond political propaganda.

The accused also withdrew their confessions, which they claimed were made under duress in the course of interrogation.

But Barak took a tougher view. He said the three are charged with serious crimes and noted that the courts regularly remand in custody persons charged with lesser offenses.

According to Barak, the man and two women belonged to a terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

He ordered the prison authorities to make conditions a little more comfortable for the two women, if possible.

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