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Detainees sue over illegal inquiry

Tuesday, March 21, 2018, 11:52 Following an illegal inquiry by the GSS at a police station, two yeshiva students from the north of Israel are suing the Israeli Police for the sum of 15,000 NIS each. “Blue-uniformed policemen arrived at the yeshiva with a warrant and detained me in front of everyone,” said R., one of the complainants. “They took me to the police station, without explaining why, and there they searched me. They took everything. They turned off my cell phone.” Then R. was illegally taken without his consent to a discussion with a GSS agent. “They brought me into a room, and the GSS agent began to ask me questions. I told him that he could talk to himself. I didn’t make eye contact with him or cooperate. The discussion went on for about 50 minutes, during which he warned me ‘not to influence certain people’, ‘to be wary of dangerous people’, and mentioned names of my friends. Later on he threatened me: ‘We will speak with your head of yeshiva if you cause problems. The police is hot on your trail. It would be best for you to start to calm down because if you don’t, I will tell them to continue detaining you and to make trouble for you’,” said R. The statement of claim mentions that, “It is clear that after the complainant was taken by the policemen it was not explained to him that the matter was voluntary. The complainant was in fact taken by force to an inquiry, not told that he was not obligated to cooperate and not told that if he did not cooperate, no sanctions whatsoever would be taken against him.” R. said that his friends were forcibly taken to similar discussions. “I have no idea what I do that bothers them. Maybe it’s that I speak to my friends and we share certain opinions. I learn Torah at a yeshiva and other than that I have no other occupation. He [the GSS agent] threatened me and told me that I should stop ‘spreading my opinions’. It is not clear to me how I am spreading anything… I have no recollection of putting up signs or going to protests. Apparently talking to friends also stresses them [the GSS].” Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado, who is representing the complainants, filed complaints about the incident with a Public Complaints Officer of the Israeli Police and the GSS department responsible for examining complaints from interrogatees, and now, “Despite the fact that approximately six months have passed, the complaints have not yet been adequately answered.” Yado explained the reasons for suing: “The suit is meant to serve three purposes: protecting the rule of law from an increase in the power of the law enforcement authorities beyond what is permitted, defending right-wing activists from injury by the authorities, and rectifying the injustice towards the complainants who were forcibly and illegally brought to a GSS inquiry at a police station.”

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