J’lem resident sues over false detention during Pride March
Updated: Jan 27, 2022
Honenu is currently handling a disturbing number of cases in which the police have falsely detained citizens in the context of pride marches, for no apparent reason, and has represented many citizens whose fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of protest, have been violated with regard to pride marches. Please click here for a list of relevant posts.
Sunday, September 5, 2021, 13:53 A statement of claim filed recently by Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado has revealed outrageous conduct by the police with regard to people with a right-wing or religious appearance. A man who wanted to protest the Jerusalem Pride March was detained on a claim that he intended to disrupt public order during the march, although the police did not have any actual indication to that effect. With the assistance of Honenu, the claimant has sued the police for 30,000 NIS over false detention.
Several months ago, the claimant, a 52-year-old resident of Jerusalem, noticed announcements from the Lehava organization about a demonstration, authorized by the police, protesting the Jerusalem Pride March and decided to participate. The claimant arrived at Emek Rafaim Street, where he encountered a police barrier.
The claimant noticed that the policemen were detaining only men wearing a kippot, and started to film what was happening. After several minutes, he was forced to give his personal details to the policemen at the site, and when he repeated his request to proceed to the demonstration, he was forced to wait while they checked his details via a police car console. The check did not reveal anything suspicious about him.
Nevertheless, the claimant was not permitted to continue in the direction of the demonstration, which was already coming to a close. He was sent to a second checkpoint, where he was forced again to give his personal details for a check, and also forced to empty his pants pockets. After this check, several policemen escorted the claimant in the direction of the demonstration. However, a matter of meters before the site designated for the demonstration, the policemen detained the claimant, took his camera, and conducted another check, which took an entire hour, in the hot sun. He was not allowed to proceed.
The statement of claim describes the hard feelings of the claimant, who appeared to be a prisoner being escorted by policemen while hundreds of participants in the Pride March passed by. “The humiliation was tremendous, and all the more painful, as the claimant had intended to object to the marchers. Instead of protesting, he was led, as if he were a prisoner and a criminal, by the policemen on the sidelines of the secured passage of the march participants. The claimant thought about how everyone who passed him, looked at him and said to each other, ‘Who knows what he had planned, that criminal.’ That is what he felt as he was detained without cause by the policemen in the middle of the street.”
After an hour, the claimant was told that he had to go to the police station, without being told the reason for the detention. The claimant was taken to the Moriah Police Station, for interrogation, and still not informed of the grounds for the detention. When the interrogator asked the policeman for the reason, he said that the claimant was suspected of “intent to disrupt public order”. The claimant denied all charges and suggested to the interrogator that he watch the video that the claimant had filmed, but the interrogator refused.
At the completion of the interrogation, the claimant was transferred to a small detention cell already holding five or six other detainees. With him was a hareidi Jew who had been detained on the next street over, who stated that he had gone out to withdraw money from an ATM. The two of them tried to determine when they would be released, and they heard from one of the policemen guarding them that the police were waiting for the march to end. After the march was over, at about 21:00, they were allowed to leave.
At 21:40, after five and a quarter hours of detention, interrogation, and confinement, the claimant was allowed to return to his home. The policemen refused to give him a release form indicating how long he had been held.
Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado censured the police conduct: “The claimant was not detained over any crime written in a law book. The police detained a man, interrogated him on the basis of assumptions, falsely accused him, and acted on the basis of prejudices, thereby depriving him of his right to protest, in addition to depriving him of his right to freedom of movement and violating his right to human dignity.”