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District court levels strong criticism at police conduct, “The police are making their own laws”

Monday, December 19, 2011, 21:04 Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Yo’ed HaCohen leveled strong criticism at the conduct of the Binyamin Police and the Yehuda and Shomron District Police concerning the Ramat Migron detainees. Judge HaCohen ruled that the police are making their own laws and that the detainees will be brought to court the same night. Judge Gad Ehrenberg scheduled the deliberation for 2:00 in the morning. In the morning two minors and one young woman (not a minor) were detained at the Ramat Migron outpost on suspicion of violating a closed military zone. The three were detained in an operation initiated by the Yehuda and Shomron District Police and transferred for interrogation to the Binyamin Police. After interrogation the police interrogators decided to hold two of them in remand and bring them to court. However despite the fact that the law requires bringing an detainee to court as quickly as possible and the fact that the interrogation was completed during the morning, the police announced that the detainees would be brought to court only the following day. Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger quickly filed an urgent appeal with the Jerusalem Magistrate Court on the remand in a demand to immediately bring the detainees to court, because the police wanted to leave them in remand overnight for no reason. It should be noted that the police announced that they would request a conditional release. However Judge Ehrenberg, who ruled on the request, rejected the appeal and did not even see fit to request a response from the police. The judge ruled that there is an officer’s decision to detain the two and that he does not know if the interrogation has actually been completed. Honenu, which is representing the detainees, did not give up and filed an appeal on the decision with the Jerusalem District Court. Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Yo’ed HaCohen scheduled a deliberation on the appeal for 18:30, to which representatives of the Binyamin Police did not even bother to appear. Binyamin Police interrogation officer Shai DeCosta sent a letter to the court in which he requested that the deliberation be postponed until the following morning, because it is an “annoying appeal”. Court: “The police are making their own laws” Judge HaCohen leveled strong criticism at the police for their conduct, and also at Judge Ehrenberg, who did not bother to request a response from the police. Judge HaCohen wrote in his decision that if Judge Ehrenberg had received a response from the police, it is reasonable to assume that he would have scheduled the deliberation for the afternoon, being as the interrogation had been completed in the morning and the police announced that they would request a conditional release for the detainees. The Judge HaCohen ruled that the position of the police “is baseless and contrary to the basic principles of human dignity and freedom. It in fact reflects administrative ease and not a fundamental principle.” The judge also ruled that by the failure of representatives from the police and the detainees to appear at the deliberation, the police is making its own laws. “The respondent [the police] has a public obligation and the manner in which no representative of the police or the detainees appeared in court in order to justify the request and instead sent a document that could be interpreted as either a request for postponement or a written statement of position is unacceptable to me. In this matter the respondent made its own laws when it should have been an example of how the law and rulings of the court are followed,” wrote the judge in his decision. The judge ruled that a copy of the decision would be transferred to the commanding officer of the Yehuda and Shomron District Police. At the end of the deliberation Judge HaCohen decided that the police must release the detainees at the police station or alternatively bring them to the magistrate court that night for a deliberation. The police filed a request with the magistrate court to hold a deliberation on the detainees. Judge Ehrenberg scheduled a deliberation for 2:00 AM. Honenu reported that, “This is not the first time the police has attempted to “punish” detainees by leaving them in remand without a genuine reason. The urgent appeals that Honenu has filed have resulted more than once in the release of detainees who could have otherwise spent an additional night in remand for no reason.”

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