August 25th, 2017: Thousands celebrated today as Benjamin Friedman, a father of 10 and grandfather to 3 was released from prison after he served 9 months on false charges.
Friedman was a bystander at a peaceful protest in Jerusalem in late 2016. Israeli police quickly honed in and attempted to dissipate protesters who gathered to demonstrate against Israel’s controversial mandatory military service. The next thing Mr. Friedman knew, he was being handcuffed and thrown into the back of a police car for assaulting a police officer. Witnesses confirmed that Friedman had done nothing of the sort but the officer insisted that Mr. Friedman had broken his finger after a scuffle to end the protest ensued.
Friedman was incarcerated without bail throughout the trial. Petitions for his release fell on deaf ears. Eventually, a plea agreement was reached in which Friedman reluctantly agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. He served 8 months amongst hardened criminals in an Israeli prison.
Major celebrations have been organized by the Orthodox community to welcome Friedman home on the day of his release from prison.