Complaint filed with PIU for assault and interfering with evidence
Monday, August 8, 2016, 15:04 Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado filed a complaint with the Police Investigation Unit about an incident in which policemen, prima facie, assaulted a Jewish youth, illegally detained him and interfered with evidence. The youth, a Jerusalem resident in his 20’s, arrived at an entrance to the Temple Mount wearing tefillin, and requested permission to ascend the Temple Mount. The youth related that a policeman approached him and told him that he could not ascend the Temple Mount with tefillin, and that he wanted to speak to him. The policeman then took the youth towards the bridge leading to the checkpoint for the Temple Mount area. At this stage the youth asked to remove his tefillin so that he would be able to ascend the Temple Mount without them, in accordance with the policeman’s instructions. However the policeman did not allow him to do so, forcibly grabbed his arm and began to push him towards the exit. “My client stood against the railing and told the policeman to stop pushing him,” wrote Yado in the complaint and described what happened next. “Three policemen approached my client and without informing him that he was being detained began to shove my client and hit and kick him.” The complaint also mentions that the policemen prevented bystanders from documenting the incident. Two Jews who were at the scene began to film the incident with their cell phones. Another policeman by the name Moti Gabai ordered them to stop and swatted one of the cell phones filming the violent incident. “The policemen continued to beat my client after he was handcuffed and broke his glasses. After the cell phones were turned off and the documentation of the incident stopped, the policemen continued off-camera to punch my client. “The incident includes assault and unreasonable use of force, and also deliberate use of violence by the policemen while carrying out an illegal detention with excessive aggressiveness. My client made no move, and was forced to instinctively react to the violence used against him which, as stated above, did not stop even after he was handcuffed,” wrote Yado to the Police Investigation Unit. “I direct your attention to the wide-ranging public ramifications of policemen illegally using the authority granted to them by law to attempt to and also in fact to prohibit and interfere with the ability of citizens to document incidents of assault and use of violence by policemen.” Following the incident, which occurred on July 26, 2015, the day on which the Tisha B’Av fast was observed that year, the police brought the youth to court and demanded that he be prohibited from ascending the Temple Mount for 60 days. After watching the video clip of the incident the court accepted the opinion of Honenu Attorney Avichai Hajbi, who represented the youth at the deliberation, and released him. After his release he was served with an indictment accusing him of biting one of the policemen who beat him during the course of the incident. At the July 2015 deliberation a police representative admitted that there is no written ordinance prohibiting a Jew from ascending the Temple Mount while wearing tefillin. Although the police claimed that the youth bit a policeman as he was being detained, the video clip presented to the court shows that the youth did not commit any violation of the law before the policemen started to beat him. “A video clip was presented to me… in which one sees that the defendant did not do anything before the security forces evacuated him, and it should be noted that they evacuated him aggressively,” wrote Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Mirit Fohrer. She ruled that even though afterwards apparently the youth did bite one of the policemen who had seized him, there is no cause to ban him from the Temple Mount and he was unconditionally released. For additional, but not all, cases in which Honenu attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please click here.