Detained Pride March protester’s appeal not yet handled

Honenu 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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022, 16:54 Rabbi Dror Aryeh was falsely detained after legally protesting the Tel Aviv Pride March last summer. He filed a complaint with the Police Investigation Unit (PIU) and the State Attorney’s Office, but the case was closed without an investigation. Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski, who is representing Rabbi Aryeh, appealed the decision to close the case, but the State Attorney’s Office has not yet handled the appeal.

Poleski sent a letter to the heads of the Appeals Department of the State Attorney’s Office describing the incident, which took place over a year ago. On the day of the 2021 Tel Aviv Pride March (Friday, June 25), Rabbi Dror Aryeh legally expressed his opposition to the march by hiring a drone with the sign “Dad and Mom = Family / The courage to be normal” from a commercial company that regularly flies drones over the beach for the purpose of advertising. The police detained Rabbi Aryeh for many hours. He subsequently filed a complaint with the PIU and the State Attorney’s Office citing severe violations of his rights to freedom of movement and freedom of expression, which constitute fundamental rights in any democratic country.

Despite the detailed complaint in which Rabbi Aryeh demanded that the policemen involved be investigated for their violation of the law during the detention, contrary to their legal obligation, the PIU closed the case without an investigation. Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski, who is representing Rabbi Aryeh, filed an appeal with the Appeals Department of State Attorney’s Office demanding that the circumstances of the incident be thoroughly investigated. The appeal has not yet been handled.

Poleski cited that the delay in making a decision is causing a cover-up and obstruction of the investigation. Due to the long time that has elapsed since the incident, there will be difficulties in locating all of the relevant material and also interrogating suspects. The delay deprives Rabbi Aryeh of his right to an effective, rapid, and efficient investigation of his complaint. Likewise, the lack of a decision on the matter precludes taking the matter to court. “It is unacceptable that a detailed complaint filed over the scandalous conduct of the Israel Police has not received any attention, not from the Police Investigation Unit, and not from the Appeals Department of the State Attorney’s Office,” wrote Poleski in his letter.

“This is outrageous conduct. A citizen was detained [hours before the onset of Shabbat] through no fault of his own, only because he wanted to protest the pride march taking place on the Tel Aviv beach. He did so in the most legitimate and legal way, that in which commercial advertisements are generally advertised. And suddenly he was ‘rewarded’ with policemen following him, stopping him, searching his car, detaining him, and violating his freedom of expression. They released him very close to the onset of Shabbat. There was no justification. It was all only because he dared to protest the pride march.

“As if that were not enough, after the complaint was filed with the PIU, nothing was done, not even an investigation was opened. We received the investigative material from the PIU after the case was closed, and we saw that they did not even ask the policemen involved for a response. We appealed to the State Attorney’s Office four-five months ago, and still, nothing has happened. How is it possible to rely on the PIU and the State Attorney’s Office to genuinely investigate incidents if they have not done anything with a complaint so long after it was received? Later, they will say that it is impossible to genuinely investigate because the policemen involved cannot be located. It is simply a scandal.”

Rabbi Dror Aryeh also responded to the lack of attention his complaint has received: “The PIU is again covering up a brutal detention and showing contempt for the right of a citizen to legally protest the damage being done to the structure of a normal family.”

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