Detainee unconditionally released, court censured police

Honenu Atty. Nati Rom; Photo credit: Honenu

Sunday, December 12, 2021, 10:50 After it turned out that the policemen who detained a Yeshivat Homesh student for being in a closed military zone did not have maps proving that that the site was a closed military zone, Petah Tikva Magistrates Court Judge Amir Lokshinsky-Gal unconditionally released him from remand.

The student was detained in Homesh, on Thursday, November 25. He asked the policeman to show him a map proving that the site was a closed military zone, as required by law. Although the policemen did not have the necessary maps, they detained the student, who spent a night in remand and was brought before a judge the following morning. Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who is representing the student, cross-examined the police representatives during the hearing. They claimed that although they did not have any maps proving the prohibition of being at the site, there was a reasonable suspicion of the student’s presence being forbidden, and therefore they detained him, with the intent to conditionally release him.

At the hearing, Rom stated that there must be sufficient grounds for a detention: “At this stage, no restrictions should be placed on his [the student’s] liberty. If the police would like to file an indictment, they should do so. But there is a reasonable suspicion that you yourself cannot show on a map where one is allowed to be and where one is forbidden, and there is an even greater suspicion that the claim of the suspect is correct. He was apprehended in a permitted site.”

In his decision, Judge Lokshinsky-Gal addressed the various claims: “It seems that a minimal reasonable suspicion necessary for his [the student’s] conditional release requires a minimal indication that the suspect was in a forbidden area. I studied the police action report and the map. However, only the location of the detention is marked on the map, and also in the police action report there is no information from which it is possible to learn that the detention was carried out in a closed military zone. … Under these circumstances, I did not find that there is a minimal reasonable suspicion to set conditions for release, and therefore I order the unconditional release of the suspect.”

In the conclusion of his decision, Judge Lokshinsky-Gal censured the police for their conduct during the detention: “… it would be best for the investigating unit to equip themselves with the relevant maps at the time of investigation and at the time of detention. And of course at the time of a court hearing. In this manner it will be possible to prevent superfluous detentions.”

Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who represented the student, expressed hope that the court’s decision will influence the conduct of the police in similar situations: “It is sad to see the conduct of the police, especially in light of the increase in terror attacks in the Yehuda and Shomron regions recently. The obsession with detaining Jewish residents who have not done anything is not logical, to put it mildly. We are pleased that the court ruled that there is not a minimal reasonable suspicion justifying the detention of the suspect, and that the Israeli Police, to the extent that they are interested in carrying out similar detentions, are obligated to have precise maps. I hope that the court’s ruling will stop the harassment of Jews who are not harming anyone and are not violating the law.”

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