Israel Police to compensate minor for mistreatment

Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel; Photo credit: Honenu

Thursday, July 4, 2024, 16:11 In a compromise agreement between Yedidya Epstein and the Israel Police, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court awarded the right-wing activist NIS 10,000. In July 2023, Epstein organized an Israeli flag-waving demonstration at Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) in Jerusalem. During the demonstration, Epstein was detained, interrogated at the police station, and held in custody overnight. The following day. Epstein was taken to court handcuffed and in leg shackles. After the incident, Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel filed a suit against the police on behalf of Epstein.

In the statement of claim, Attorney Weisel described how the police mistreated Epstein: “Approximately an hour after the demonstration began, Epstein was detained, taken to the Shalem Police Station, and interrogated. After the interrogation, Epstein asked the interrogator to release him to his home with a summons to report the following day to a hearing. The interrogator refused his request. Despite the well-known provisions of law, the police officers at the station kept Epstein in custody overnight so that he could be brought to court the next day as a detainee for the hearing of his request for release, conditions that a police officer can not impose. More seriously, the officers not only did not release Epstein, but they did not transfer him to the detention center for remand overnight nor did they provide him with the minimum basic comforts for the his remand at the station. Epstein was placed in a cell at the station, and the officers told him that he would spend the night there. He asked for a blanket and a mattress for the night’s sleep. In reply, the officers apologized for a lack [of supplies] and said that he would therefore have to sleep without a mattress. … Thus a minor found himself forced to spend the night attempting to sleep in a holding cell without a mattress to lie on or a blanket to cover himself and escape the bitter cold that pervaded the station.”

Attorney Weisel further stated, “The following morning, on the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, the defendants did not hurry to release the minor, a religious youth who was forced, pointlessly, to spend additional hours in custody on a fast day. He was ignored in his cell until close to noon when prison guards came to take him to the hearing. In violation of the law, the guards handcuffed the minor and shackled his legs before taking him out to the street. The minor was forced to be seen in public, handcuffed and shackled, like a hardened criminal, rather than the minor he was, without a criminal record, being brought to a hearing on his request for release on bail. From the street, the minor was picked up in a police car by one of the defendants and taken to court. The minor was humiliated, and his basic rights continued to be violated in court when prison guards brought him into the courtroom handcuffed and shackled.”

Honenu Attorney Eladi Weisel welcomed the court’s decision and said, “We filed a suit over a serious and needless violation of the rights of a social activist, who was a minor. The outrageous conduct of the Israel Police is considered intentional hassling of a minor, an idealist and social activist, who set a goal for himself to help return a sense of security to Sha’ar Shechem, and did not reconcile himself to a situation in which an Israeli flag may not be waved at such a central location in the heart of the capital of Israel. However, inexplicably, the Israel Police, time after time, contrives to obstruct his legal protests and indifferently violates his fundamental rights of freedom to protest and freedom of movement. The violation of his rights reached a new height with the detention over which he sued the police. We hope that the suit that we filed and the resultant compensation that the police will pay will help the police come to their senses so that instead of fighting Israeli flag-wavers in the capital of Israel they will fight the terrorists who try to attack them.”

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