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Charges to be dropped against accused Jewish cemetery vandal

SYDNEY (JTA) – Police in New Zealand say charges will be dropped against one of the three men arrested in last month’s attack on a historic Jewish cemetery.

Auckland police released a short statement Monday saying that the charge of willful damage against Nathan Symington, 23, will be withdrawn because of "insufficient evidence to carry out a robust prosecution."

Symington had told the Auckland District Court that he was innocent, that his only connection was a photo of the vandalism sent to him by a friend that he posted on Facebook.

"I feel like killing myself over this," he said at the time. "My name’s been shamed."

More than 20 headstones at the Jewish cemetery in Auckland were vandalized with anti-Semitic and anti-Israel graffiti, many with swastikas and some with the numbers "88" — code for "Heil Hitler."

Police said they will continue their case against the other two defendants, whose names have been suppressed. The two men, aged 19 and 20, are expected to appear in court on Nov. 13. 

Under bail conditions, they are banned from associating with each other and prohibited from visiting any cemetery, synagogue or Jewish school.

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