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Youths compensated over false detention before Pride March

Updated: Jan 26


Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado; Photo credit: Honenu

See here and here for additional posts about detentions on the day of the 2020 Jerusalem Pride March and here for a post about brutal detentions on the day of the 2019 Jerusalem Pride March. See here for a post about a false detention before the 2019 Ashdod Pride March. Sunday, November 8, 2020, 9:24 On the day of the Jerusalem Pride March, a group of minors on their way to the yeshiva they attend, were falsely detained on suspicion that they would protest against the march. Policemen searched their bags and conducted a body search on them in the middle of the street. Then the youths were taken to the Lev HaBira Police Station, interrogated on suspicion of intent to cause a public disturbance, and held there until late at night. The minors sued the Jerusalem Police in the Jerusalem Small Claims Court and in the end, the two sides reached a compromise agreement of 10,000 NIS in compensation. The minors claimed that they were detained only due to their appearance and not on any justifiable grounds. They also claimed that the police had no authority to detain them and that the search conducted on them was illegal. Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who assisted the youths and drafted their statement of claim: “The claimants, yeshiva students, were walking through Jerusalem on the day of the Pride March [June 28] and their only ‘fault’ was their religious appearance, which led to their detention. Other individuals with a religious or hareidi appearance were also detained on that day. One must not tolerate such a severe and blatant violation of rights, which one may describe as a genuine persecution of religious and hareidi Jews in the Holy City of Jerusalem.” One of the minors, Y., a resident of the northern region of Israel, described the detention, “My friend and I were walking alongside the light rail track near the Old City of Jerusalem. Policemen approached us, stopped us on the street, and told us that we were detained. We were with them for about two hours on the street and then they took us to the police station. “Initially, they said that it was just a short detention for a preliminary inquiry, but then they searched us on the street. Everyone was looking at us. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling at all. We asked them to explain why. What did we do? They wouldn’t tell us anything. They told us only a long time later that we had wanted to disturb public order. For several hours we didn’t get any food or drink. And for a long time they didn’t let us go to the bathroom either. “It was insane. You’re walking in Jerusalem, and a policeman decides that you’re about to disturb public order, and it’s only because you have a kippa and payot. The ease with which a policeman can detain you for no reason, for hours, to do a humiliating search on you in the middle of the street. It’s outrageous,” concluded Y. Another minor, T., a resident of the Old City of Jerusalem, added his description: “They stopped me when I was on my way from home to the yeshiva, for no reason. They stopped us near the City Hall Train Station. After a while they told us that we wanted to disrupt the Pride March. They released us only at midnight.” By that time there was no public transportation and the youths were forced to find their own way home. “We walked to the entrance of the city and tried all night to catch a ride to the yeshiva. We got there only in the morning. “It makes me very angry. Out of a lot of people on the street they picked us, only because of how we look. It’s infuriating. The search on the street wasn’t nice either. You stand on the street, a policeman feels all of your pockets, runs his hands over your body as if you’re some kind of a criminal. And it’s all because he decided that you might want to disturb public order. They searched our bags too.” Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado: “We filed close to ten lawsuits over the severe violation of the right to oppose and protest the Pride March and over the violation of rights of passers-by who had a religious appearance. The ruling handed down is a harbinger of change to the policy of illegal law enforcement by the Israeli Police and to the policy of illegal silencing by the Israeli Police of opposition to the Pride March. We are completely certain that there will be many more similar rulings. “The purpose of the lawsuits, and of all of the legal proceedings on the matter, is to let the Israeli Police know that they must not only ensure the safety of the participants in the march, but must also ensure the freedom of those who oppose the march and protest against the march. This is the least that should be done in a democracy, definitely in the democracy of the State of Israel, the state of Am Yisrael, and most definitely in Jerusalem, the eternal and holy capital.”

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