Pride March protester detained, Honenu appealed

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, February 9, 2022, 16:28 On the day of the 2021 Tel Aviv Pride March (Friday, June 25), Rabbi Dror Aryeh legally expressed his opposition to the march by hiring a drone with the sign “Dad and Mom = Family / The courage to be normal” from a commercial company that regularly flies drones over the beach for the purpose of advertising. The police detained Rabbi Aryeh for many hours. Despite a detailed complaint filed with the Police Investigation Unit (PIU) and the State Attorney’s Office demanding that the policemen involved be investigated for their violation of the law during the detention, contrary to their legal obligation, the PIU closed the case without an investigation. The complaint cited severe violations of Rabbi Aryeh’s rights to freedom of movement and freedom of expression, which constitute fundamental rights in any democratic country.

Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski, who is representing Rabbi Aryeh, filed an appeal with the Appeals Department of State Attorney’s Office demanding that the circumstances of the incident be thoroughly investigated. In the text of the appeal, which is summarized below, Poleski sharply criticized the police.

It is intolerable that policemen received orders to follow a man, violate his privacy, and violate his freedom by detaining him without any visible cause, particularly when it was done as a systemic, initiated, and intentional violation of his legal rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of movement, and privacy. Despite all this, the PIU did not find it correct to even ask the police for the material. No investigation was conducted, not of the individual policemen who carried out the acts, and not of the authorities in the upper echelons who gave the patently illegal orders.

There is no indication in the case file of where my client was detained and why. If there had been a suspicion that my client had violated public order, then there should have been a police action report citing the nature of the suspicion. Likewise, the investigative material indicates that evidence was confiscated from my client’s car, but there is no evidence in the file documenting either the authority who authorized the search of my client’s car or the policeman who carried out the search.

I did not receive any evidence describing the location of the car that was searched or the justification for the illegal search of my client’s car. Likewise, I did not receive any documentation from body cameras showing the detention and the interaction between the policemen and my client, despite the complaint filed by my client describing the scandalous conduct of the Israel Police who detained an individual for no reason in the middle of the day and also violated his fundamental rights.

The circumstances of his detention and the circumstances of his interrogation clearly indicate that the various branches of Israel Police operated illegally, and systematically, intentionally, and proactively committed many criminal offenses entailing severe violations of my client’s rights. Moreover, the police conduct is reminiscent of dark regimes that enlist the police to follow and silence citizens who wish to express a particular ethical viewpoint in the public sphere. Beyond that, the reply of the PIU paints a harsh picture indicating the existence of a ‘policy’ of intentional non-enforcement by the investigative authorities regarding serious claims against the Israel Police over their conduct.

This week, to my great shock I received a reply from the PIU in which they explicitly confirmed that no investigative action was taken in the case, despite the detailed complaint that was filed. It is unacceptable that a citizen filed a detailed complaint following groundless detention and an illegal search of his car, and the PIU did not take the trouble to do anything. Why are we funding this authority? To pretend that there is an authority that objectively investigates complaints about the police?

Unlike other cases, in this case, we have not even reached the cover-up stage of the investigation. The investigation simply has not begun. The Israel Police severely violated the most basic rights of a completely normative citizen who had not committed any offense and had only dared to express objection to a provocative march openly taking place in the city. According to my client, the Pride March violates and desecrates human dignity. According to various reports, many of the participants commit criminal offenses, including drug use, during the march. The Israel Police does not investigate those offenses, but an individual who dared to express objection in a positive manner by calling attention to the nuclear family that has been accepted as the norm for many generations in the entire world and in Jewish tradition, in particular, is silenced by the police.”

In light of the above, I demand that the appeal be accepted and that a thorough and comprehensive criminal investigation be opened that will entail arriving at conclusions and setting clear guidelines that take into account future situations. It is unacceptable for the Israel Police to act without any authority and in complete opposition to the law.

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