Honenu to police: Stop false detentions on Pride March day

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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023, 17:31 In anticipation of likely harassment by police officers on the day of the Jerusalem Pride March this week (June 1), Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel wrote to the Jerusalem Police demanding that they not falsely detain Jews. Every year during the Pride March, the police detain innocent Jews for hours at the police station and at the entrances to Jerusalem only because of their religious appearance. Sometimes, the detainees are illegally handcuffed.

Attorney Weisel describes police treatment in his letter: “The purpose of this letter is a request, well ahead of time, to prevent a repeat of the yearly harassment and trampling of human rights of ordinary citizens on the day of the Pride March. As is well known, in the framework of efforts to ‘maintain public order,’ the police carry out many detentions on the day of the Pride March, every year. However, these are false detentions based only on the stigmatic and prohibited profiling that the police use to ‘snag’ citizens who have a religious Jewish appearance off of the streets of Jerusalem and from the Hizme Checkpoint [at the entrance to Jerusalem from the Binyamin region] and hold them in custody at the police station until the Pride March is over. There are no legal grounds for this practice.

“These detentions, besides depriving those citizens of their basic right to freedom, cause an unnecessary feeling of powerlessness and fear that lasts throughout the Pride March [for anyone with a religious appearance]. The detainees also suffer financial loss and damage to their reputations. Consequently, every year, many civil suits are filed for the damages described above. Virtually all the suits are accepted by the court, which accepts the claims of illegal detentions and resulting damages.”

Attorney Weisel emphasized that despite the many rulings that the courts have made against this conduct by the police, they have not changed their ways: “Astonishingly, every year, the Israel Police – the authority responsible for law enforcement – chooses to blatantly and completely ignore the courts’ rulings and to continue, as if nothing had happened, the same behavior lacking any legal basis. They abuse the power given them by the legislature and damage the reputations of citizens who have the misfortune to be seized as scapegoats. One must be especially shocked by the illegal and unreasonable behavior of the Israel Police in situations where they have many other various legal tools available to fulfill their duties.”

Attorney Weisel cited the severe violations of citizens’ basic rights and called on the police to cease their harassment: “These techniques damage the basic values of the system of government in Israel – the very system the police is supposed to protect – by crudely trampling the rights to liberty, equality, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and to freedom of protest, among others. The police deviate from administrative rules of law and blatantly ignore repeated court rulings on the matter. Individual rights are violated. Entire populations and sectors are tarnished. The police must immediately act to eliminate these procedures. Regulations must be clarified according to the relevant provisions of law and jurisprudence. All police forces must be briefed to completely prevent repetitions of the above-mentioned violations during the Pride March to be held this week.”

Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel commented on the situation: “The Israel Police, the authority responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining public order, chooses every year to flagrantly ignore the courts’ repeated rulings that obligate them time after time to compensate citizens who were persecuted only because of their religious appearance. Innocent citizens walking near the site of the Pride March are detained and harassed for many hours. Despite the courts’ rulings, the police unhesitatingly continue their illegal conduct. We call on the police to stop persecuting innocent citizens.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.