Honenu to J’lem Police: Cease baseless Pride March protest detentions

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.

Honenu pamphlet summarizing relevant cases

Tuesday, May 28, 2024, 11:07 In preparation for the Jerusalem Pride March set to take place this Thursday, Honenu wrote a letter to police commanders in the Jerusalem District demanding that they cease the practice of groundlessly detaining citizens who are suspected of intending to protest the march. The letter, signed by Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel, emphasises the goal of preventing a repeat of the many incidents of illegally detained protesters in previous years.

“As is well known, in the framework of efforts to ‘maintain public order,’ every year the police carry out many detentions on the day of the Pride March,” wrote Attorney Weisel. “The groundless detentions stem only from stigmatic profiling. The police must not ‘pluck’ citizens with a religious Jewish appearance from the streets of Jerusalem and the Hizmeh Crossing [from the Binyamin region to Jerusalem] and hold them at police stations without any legal grounds until the march is over. These detentions, beyond the violation of those citizens’ basic freedom, cause a needless feeling of helplessness and fear that continue throughout the entire detention. The detainees also suffer financial loss and damage to their reputation.”

Attorney Weisel cited that every year Honenu files a series of legal suits against the police, and virtually all of them are accepted by the courts. “The verdicts show that the detentions lack any legal authority, and monetary compensation is awarded accordingly. Inexplicably, every year, the Israel Police – the authority entrusted with law enforcement – blatantly and completely ignore the court rulings, and continue, as if nothing had been decided, the same legally groundless behavior. This abuse of the power that the legislature grants to the police damages the reputation of Israeli citizens who have the misfortune to be detained as scapegoats.”

Honenu has demanded a series of steps to rectify the injustices. The steps proposed include the elimination of the current methods of discriminatory law enforcement. Police guidelines must be clarified in accordance with the relevant provisions of law and case law. All law enforcement agents must be informed of the law so that a repetition of the above mentioned violations is prevented during the Pride March this week. The letter was sent to the Jerusalem District Commander, Major-General Doron Turgeman, and other commanders in the district, the regional commanders, and Israel Police Attorney General Commander Elazar Kahane. A copy of the letter was also sent to the National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, in a request for him to act on the matter.

Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel explained: “For years the police have been acting like a bull in china shop regarding the fundamental rights of citizens who wish to express their opposition to the Pride March. They could efficiently utilize the quality intelligence gathering tools at their disposal to obtain concrete information about individuals who pose a genuine danger to the march, which would benefit the security of the march participants and also prevent unnecessary violations of protesters’ rights. Instead, every year, the police defame a large number of citizens over baseless suspicions whose only source is discriminatory profiling. We call on the police to immediately cease the blatant disregard for the protesters’ rights and stop the practice of illegally detaining protesters. Fundamental rights must be upheld even when citizens do not toe the line with the progressive ideology dominating public discourse.”

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