Sunday, January 1, 2017, 14:55 Elisheva Chen, the senior registrar of the Jerusalem
Magistrate Court, handed down a ruling of 2,250 NIS compensation for false detention of Adei Ad resident Itiel Zuaretz. Zuaretz, who has been under administrative restrictions since October 2015, was detained in April 2016 at the home of relatives in Afula. No evidence against him was ever presented and he was not brought to trial.
On the night of Saturday, April 30, 2016, approximately an hour and a half after Shabbat ended, two policemen from the Afula Police suddenly arrived, called out to Zuaretz to come out into the yard and claimed that his car had been involved in a traffic accident. Zuaretz, surprised, went out to the street holding his four-month old daughter. Several police detectives from the Department of Nationalist Crime in the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police who were waiting in ambush on the street, quickly surrounded him and informed him that he had violated an administrative order and therefore was being detained.
Zuaretz attempted to explain that the order was applicable only in Yehuda and Shomron. However, as Zuaretz reported to Honenu, a detective by the name of Shai Erez twisted his arm and ordered him to hand his baby to his wife or else he would, “Knock him to the ground with his baby.”
Itiel’s wife presented the order, which was signed by the GOC of the Central Command, to the policemen, and read out loud the part of the order which states that the order applies only to the regions of Yehuda and Shomron. When Zuaretz is in those regions he is under house arrest at night. Zuaretz had also of his own accord informed the Central Command that he would spend the last day of Passover and the Shabbat which immediately followed, in Afula and not at his temporary home at which he is staying for the duration of the administrative order.
Despite Zuaretz’s explanations, he was taken into the police car and informed that he would be taken to the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station. Three of his five children witnessed this scene and one of them burst into tears.
Only after they reached Modi’in and Zuaretz had explained to the policemen over and over again that a mistake had occurred, did the detectives stop the car. After several minutes of phone calls the police understood what the mistake was. They made a U-turn and at dawn returned Zuaretz to Afula. He was released without an apology for the false detention. He was neither taken to a police station nor interrogated.
Zuaretz contacted Honenu and Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado assisted him in filing a civil suit against the police and detectives of the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police for false detention.
During a court deliberation on the false detention suit, Police Superintendent Shai DeCosta, the interrogations officer of the Department of Nationalist Crime, testified. Following verbal statements by Chen, and after it became known that the policemen had been sent to detain Zuaretz before the Central Command was consulted as to whether or not he had informed them that he was staying in Afula, the police agreed to a compromise.
Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado, who represented Zuaretz, said after the ruling, “The negligent lack of coordination between the [Yehuda and Shomron] Police and the Central Command resulted in the false detention, during which force was used on my client, in front of three of his children. The matter was soon clarified in court. We hope that the police will draw the right conclusions, and as the body trusted to maintain law and order, strictly follow laws and regulations.”