Temple Mount activist sues police for humiliating illegal detention
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 14:40 On behalf of a Temple Mount activist, Honenu filed a suit for 30,000 NIS in compensation for an illegal, humiliating and denigrating detention. Approximately six months ago, the claimant arrived at one of the gates to the Temple Mount, but did not enter, and started to pray. He stood in front of a police barrier, off to the side and did not attempt to pass the barrier or speak to any of the policemen. At some point police approached the claimant and demanded that he leave the site. The claimant asked why, and when he did not receive an answer, argued for approximately two minutes. The policemen refused to reply to claimant’s question of what the legal grounds are for the policemen’s demand, and then detained him on suspicion of “disturbing public order”. The claim states that when the claimant heard that he was being detained he did not express any resistance to the detention, but rather began to walk alongside a policeman to the police station. The policeman, however, grabbed the claimant “below the belt” and started to drag him through the streets. The claimant felt very uncomfortable and demanded that the policeman let go of his pants. When the policeman did not, the claimant shouted at the policeman that he was molesting him. The policeman did not respond. The claim states that, “The policeman led the claimant in this manner for approximately 200 meters from the Cotton Merchants’ Gate to the Beit Eliyahu Police Station, in sight of passers-by, while he shouted and demanded that the policeman let go of his pants. The policeman was callous and apathetic.” The Jerusalem District Court watched video clips documenting the incident and canceled the distancing order which had been imposed on the claimant. The court also ruled that there are no legal grounds for prohibiting Jews to pray at the gates to the Temple Mount. Therefore the claimant is also suing for false detention. Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado: “This is a case of ugly and despicable treatment of a citizen, by a policeman who took advantage of and abused his status by dragging the citizen in a humiliating and degrading manner through the streets. The citizen was not only physically unable to defend himself, but was at a huge legal risk, because any movement to defend himself would have been considered assaulting a policeman. The citizen risked being indicted, held in remand until the end of proceedings and possibly imprisoned. “Under these circumstances exemplary damages should be imposed on the Israeli Police for abuse of the claimant by the policeman who abused his status, and also for detaining a Jew praying at a site at which prayer is permitted to him. The detention was an illegal expression of an opinion and was carried out in an illegal manner.” For a selection of cases in which Honenu attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please see here.