Documentation of illegal body searches erased
Monday, January 2, 2017, 12:08 Youths who lit Hanuka candles at gates to the Temple Mount reported that policemen carried out illegal body searches on them, falsely detained them and erased video clips they had filmed of the incident. During Hanuka, Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado filed a complaint with the Police Investigation Unit on the incident and demanded that the video clips recorded by security cameras in the Old City which document the area in which the incident occurred, be obtained in order to prevent their erasure, which would interfere with the investigation. On December 25, 2016, the first day of Hanuka, six youths arrived at the Cotton Merchants’ Gate, one of the gates to the Temple Mount, lit Hanuka candles, prayed and then proceeded to light candles at the Iron Gate. As stated in the complaint, policemen who arrived on the scene asked them if they had lit the candles and when they responded in the affirmative, carried out illegal body searches on them, demanded that they present identification, and when they did, demanded that they accompany them to the nearest police station. The youths told Honenu that the policemen refused to identify themselves or give a reason for the detention. At the police station one of the youths asked again why they had been detained. A police detective responded that lighting Hanuka candles in that area is illegal. The youth explained that several court decisions allow Jewish religious expression at the gates to the Temple Mount. After approximately five minutes the youths were released. However after they had walked several dozen meters, policemen approached them accompanied by a police officer who demanded that they present identification again and prohibited their filming him. At this point a police detective said that the youths had already filmed the policemen and their personal details. The police officer demanded that the youths erase the video clips. The youths argued with the officer and told him that filming is permitted. After the officer threatened them that they would regret it if they did not erase the video clips, they erased the documentation of the illegal body search and the policemen’s personal details. Only then were the youths released and permitted to complete their walk around the walls of the Temple Mount. Honenu’s staff says that this practice of preventing filming or demanding the erasure of documentation of policemen violating the law is familiar to them from many other complaints the organization has handled. Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado: “This is one more of many instances in which policemen have not only violated the law, but have also either prohibited filming their actions or erased the video clips in which they are seen violating the law, adding insult to injury. I hope that someone will decide to stop the increasing incidence of these occurrences, which lead to serious violations of citizens’ rights.” For a selection of cases in which Honenu attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please see here.