Charged With Trying to Influence Witness
Oded Golan, owner of the ossuary (bone box) inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” and indicted forger, was jailed on March 8 for “obstructing legal procedure,” according to Major Yoni Pagis of the Jerusalem police. He refused to elaborate, however. According to Golan’s lawyer, Lior Bringer, Golan is accused of attempting to influence a prosecution witness, an Egyptian jeweler who some say might have engraved the forged inscription. Golan denies this, claiming the inscription is not forged. Golan says the Egyptian has been his friend for more than 15 years and has even stayed at Golan’s apartment
Under Israeli law, after 24 hours the prosecutor must justify the arrest before a magistrate. The magistrate authorized extensions of time until, after two weeks, the case was heard by a district judge in Jerusalem. The judge ordered Golan’s release.
However, the government, as of this writing has appealed this ruling to Israel’s Supreme Court. In the meantime, Golan remains in jail.
For further news on this situation, see the “Update—Finds or Fakes?” section of our website (www.bib-arch.org).