Minor banned from Old City J’lem, Honenu appealed

Wednesday, June 1, 2022, 14:14 On Saturday, the eve of Jerusalem Day, free-lance journalist Yedidya Epstein, who is a minor, walked near Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) holding an Israeli flag. Although Epstein had not done anything to provoke a reaction, a policeman at the site detained Epstein on suspicion of disturbing a policeman in the line of duty and on suspicion of conduct liable to disrupt public peace. He was held for six hours and the interrogations officer served him with an order distancing him from the Old City of Jerusalem for 15 days.

Honenu Attorney Daniel Shimshilashvili, who is representing Epstein, appealed the order, claiming that the decision by the interrogations officer was not proportional, limited Epstein’s freedom of movement and freedom of occupation, and violated his fundamental rights – “All on the basis of vague suspicions and while violating provisions of law.”

The appeal describes the incident and the claims against the police: Epstein, a minor, was detained illegally although he had not carried out any action justifying detention. At the police station, Epstein underwent an invasive search while pleading with the policeman time after time to conduct the search in a room with a surveillance camera. The policeman responded by kicking him a few times. The officer who was present intervened and stopped the assault, but the policeman refused to give his name. Additionally, the urgency of illegally conducting the interrogation at night, after the minor had been detained for almost six hours – much longer than the time set by law – is not clear.

“Epstein is a news reporter, and beyond his desire to march on Jerusalem Day with the People of Israel and to realize his rights, distancing him from the Old City [of Jerusalem] constitutes a disproportional violation of his freedom of occupation. There was no legal basis for it.”

Regarding the incident, Honenu Attorney Shimshilashvili stated, “Last night [Saturday], the Israel Police chose to detain a minor whose only ‘crime’ was to walk through the capital city with an Israeli flag. The minor was treated disgracefully by the policeman who beat him while illegally searching him and refused to identify himself. The police went so far as to illegally detain the minor for almost six hours and then ban him from entering the Old City of Jerusalem. We appealed that decision. I sincerely hope that the court will accept our claims and not defend the outrageous police conduct. We will work with all the legal means at our disposal to ensure prosecution to the full extent of the law so that incidents of this type are not repeated.”

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