Complaint justified, interrogator to be reprimanded

Sunday, August 20, 2017, 10:31 The Jerusalem District Police Public Complaints Unit determined that a complaint by Honenu for harassment and abuse of detainees was justified. The interrogator will be reprimanded. On the evening of November 22, 2016, a married couple was detained after being accused of arguing with policemen who claimed that both of them refused to present their identification cards as they were “Circling the Gates” around the Temple Mount. After interrogation at the Merchav David (Old City) Police Station they were held in remand overnight. However, in violation of the law and police regulations, they were not transferred to a detention center but rather were left to sleep in the police station. Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado filed a complaint with the Jerusalem District Police Public Complaints Unit stating that the wife was left to sleep on a bench in humiliating conditions, in a poorly heated corridor of the interrogation department, which is open to passersby, both male and female, without a blanket. She fell sick and missed several days of work after her release. Her husband was forced to spend the night in a cold, open courtyard of the police station, without a bed or a blanket. The following morning both detainees were unconditionally released after the court rejected the police demand to distance them from the area of the Temple Mount for 15 days. “Leaving an individual in remand overnight at a police station constitutes a violation of his rights,” wrote Yado in the complaint, and also quoted a court decision from a similar case. He added, “However leaving a man to sleep in an open courtyard all night without a blanket in 5-degree Jerusalem cold is already abuse for the sake of abuse! This was sadistic treatment of my client by means of abuse of power.” In response to the complaint the First Sergeant of the Jerusalem District Police Public Complaints Unit wrote that transfer of the couple to a proper detention center for the night had been arranged as required, however at the last minute the Prison Service canceled their arrival and the interrogator who was at the police station did not act as he should have and did not inform his supervisors of the developments. “If he had done so, the outcome would have been different,” he wrote. The First Sergeant also mentioned that after clarification of the incident the complaint was determined to be justified and therefore disciplinary action will be taken against the interrogator. “We regret the incident and are working on various levels to prevent a repetition of similar occurrences.” Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado: “The Public Complaints Officer acknowledged the complaint and agreed that an error had been made and that the treatment had been deficient. However from the circumstances of the incident it seems that the policemen were abusive and vindictive. “We are pleased with the decision and hope that it will serve as a reminder for the police to remain within the law, and will signal to their supervisors what is happening on their watch. We intend to file a compensation suit for bodily injury and violation of dignity of the detainees.”

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