Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 14:23 Two minors aged 15 and 16 who were detained on the
afternoon of Sunday, January 1, on suspicion of prostrating themselves on the Temple Mount, spent close to 10 hours barefoot in the Jerusalem cold and were brought to court barefoot because the police did not return their shoes to them. See video here. The minors had left their shoes at the entrance to the Temple Mount in a cabinet that the police placed specifically for Jews who follow the laws of ritual purification before ascending the Temple Mount.
Several hours after the detention, police interrogators informed Honenu Attorney Rehavia Piltz that the minors would be kept in remand overnight and in the morning be brought to a deliberation. Piltz rushed to file an urgent appeal on the remand. He pleaded that there was no cause to keep minors in remand over prostrating, and Judge Ilan Sela ruled that the deliberation would take place in the evening.
When the two minors arrived in court, Piltz was surprised to see them walking barefoot in the Jerusalem cold. The policemen who had detained the minors had not returned their shoes to them.
Honenu Attorney Piltz stated during the deliberation that this violation of their rights as minors was enough to justify their release. The police representative, Superintendent Yoram Segal, claimed that, “I thought that they had come from home barefoot.” The police, who placed the cabinet at the entrance to the Temple Mount specifically for shoes, know very well that some of the Jews ascending the Temple Mount are accustomed to ascending while barefoot due to the sanctity of the site.
Additionally, during the deliberation, the police representative claimed that the indictment had provoked a disturbance. However the video clip presented to the court showed that the incident had occurred in an isolated corner of the Temple Mount and other than a lone call of “Allah akbar”, there was no response whatsoever from the Muslims. “It was actually the police who created a disturbance. Instead of overlooking an act of prayer and prostration on the Temple Mount, the police chose to carry out a showcase detention,” said Piltz.
In the end, at the recommendation of Judge Sela the two sides came to an agreement according to which the minors will be distanced from the Temple Mount for a period of time determined by the judge. The judge ordered that the minors be prohibited to ascend the Temple Mount for 60 days and that a third party sign on bail. The policemen did not release the minors immediately in court, but rather brought them handcuffed to the police station and released them there.
During the deliberation activists from the Hozrim LaHar (Returning to the [Temple] Mount) movement, to which the detainees belong, demonstrated outside of the courthouse in protest of the detention. Several protesters were detained at the scene and released after a short time.
Honenu is preparing to file suit against the police for violating the rights of minors, handcuffing and false detention. This suit is one of several suits filed over the past year against the Merchav David (Old City) Police for police brutality and harassment of Jewish detainees.
“It is sad to see a police officer stating falsehoods in a courtroom, without a suitable response from the court,” said Piltz. “Leaving two minors aged 15 and 16 barefoot all day in the Jerusalem cold is abuse for the sake of abuse. The incident is one of several in which Jews detained for praying in the area of the Temple Mount have filed complaints about the conduct of Merchav David [Old City] policemen.”
The Hozrim LaHar (Returning to the [Temple] Mount) movement responded to the decision:
“We strongly deplore the false detention of two Jews who, all in all, were exercising their right and duty to pray on the Temple Mount. We recommend that the Israeli government stop talking pretentiously about the UN decisions which negate the connection between the Jewish Nation and Jerusalem, while its policy in practice is hypocritical. We are pleased that the court understood that the detention was false, and at the same time we demand that it control the police, and order them to immediately permit Jews to pray at the site most holy to them.”
For a selection of cases in which Honenu attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please see here.