Attorney Rom sues police over false detention

Honenu Atty. Rom; Photo credit: Honenu

Monday, April 15, 2024, 17:17 One month ago, Honenu Attorney Nati Rom was falsely detained at the Netivot Police Station (see video below) when he arrived to provide legal counsel to detainees. Currently, Attorney Rom is suing the police. Demonstrators had been detained at the Kerem Shalom Crossing for protesting the transfer of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and taken into the station. Attorney Rom demanded that the detainees be granted all of their civil rights, including their right to meet with an attorney. Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado filed a NIS 75,000 suit with the Be’er Sheva Magistrates Court against officers at the Netivot Police Station on behalf of Attorney Rom.

In the statement of claim, Attorney Yado described how Attorney Rom was detained after he attempted to advise his clients: “The claimant, an attorney by profession, frequently provides legal counsel to detainees, both independently and for Honenu. On March 5, 2024, during a demonstration at the Kerem Shalom Crossing in protest of the transfer of supplies to the enemy in the Gaza Strip at a time of war, approximately seven minors were detained and taken into the Netivot Police Station. The claimant was called by Honenu to provide the detainees with legal counsel at the station. The claimant coordinated his arrival at the station with the duty officer ahead of time. However, when he arrived, the desk sergeants were not aware of the aforementioned coordination. The claimant was forced to wait an entire hour to meet with the detainees. As he was waiting, he saw one of the detainees, a 16-year-old minor, being escorted by an officer to the bathroom. The claimant approached the minor and told her not to give testimony or speak to the officers until she met with him. In response, the officer escorting the detainee shouted at the claimant, ‘Shut your mouth!,’ and similar insults and demanded that he leave the station. The claimant tried to calm tempers and asked the officer not to yell, but to no avail.

“In an attempt to prevent an escalation, the claimant left the station, and was followed by several police officers. They demanded that he exit the station yard and go onto the street. The officers informed the claimant that if he did not leave the station yard, he would be detained. When he asked the reason, they replied that it would be for failure to obey an officer. The officers left the claimant, but after he exited the station yard, he was brought back. This time, he was illegally given the status of detained. When the claimant entered the station, the officers demanded that he give them his cell phone. The claimant asked them why he was required to give the officers his phone. The officers replied that he was being detained. The claimant explained that they did not have the authority to take a phone from a detainee. In response, the officers told the claimant that they would arrest him, which they did.”

Attorney Yado continued: “They were not satisfied with confiscating his phone. The officers also handcuffed the claimant and then put him in a detention cell. Here they committed another injustice and illegally searched the claimant. Great force was applied during the search, the claimant screamed in pain from what seemed to be a dislocated shoulder, and when he later requested medical treatment, he was told that MDA [EMS] had been summoned. However, an hour later he was told that he would not receive treatment, and so he was forced to set his shoulder with a sling that he improvised from his clothing. One of the officers found a large sum of cash in the claimant’s pocket and took it. The claimant asked the officer why he was stealing his money, and that caused the officer to completely lose control. The officer threw all of the bills onto the floor and then told the claimant to gather them. The claimant refused, so the policeman was forced to gather the bills that he had thrown to the ground in a fit of anger. During the injurious search, the duty officer entered the room more than once, and whenever she entered, the other officers ceased their violent actions. The claimant remained locked in the cell for three hours without his phone after the search.”

After he filed the suit, Attorney Yado stated, “Defense attorneys protect detainees from illegal violations of their rights by police officers. To that end, the law grants them a special status and special authority. The officers at the Netivot Police Station unjustifiably and disproportionately violated Attorney Nati Rom’s rights while he was serving as the defense attorney for the detainees at the station. The police must be held accountable.”

Honenu Attorney Nati Rom detained at the Netivot Police Station; Video credit: Free use

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