Strip-searched minor awarded compensation

Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado; Photo credit: Honenu

Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 10:23 The Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled that the State of Israel will pay 13,000 NIS in compensation over an unjustified strip search and handcuffing, for many hours, of a minor who was approximately 14 years old at the time. With the assistance of Honenu, the minor and his family sued the Israeli Police.
The minor was detained at his home early in the morning, taken handcuffed to a police car that was parked far from his house, and was held handcuffed in the police station. At the station, the minor was forced to strip down to his underwear while he was strip searched. After the incident, the minor filed a complaint with the officer in charge of public complaints at the Israeli Police, who replied that the strip search was acceptable and did not deviate from the regulations.
The suit states that the strip search was unjustified, disproportionate, extreme, and violated the minor’s dignity, as did leaving him in his underwear. Also, holding the minor handcuffed for so long constitutes negligence and is a violation of clauses of the Fundamental Laws of Human Dignity, the Detention Law and the Youth Law with regards to handcuffing.
In her decision, Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Adi Bar-Tal wrote that “stripping an individual is an extraordinary step that cannot constitute the first means of a necessary search at the stage when an individual is brought into remand.” Judge Bar-Tal also ruled that conducting the strip search on the minor was “according to the circumstances negligent and extremely unreasonable.” With regards to handcuffing the minor Judge Bar-Tal expressed her agreement with the complainant that leaving the minor handcuffed for many hours while he was calm and there was no concern of violence on his part was unjustified and constituted damage.
Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who represented the minor and his family: “After three years of a legal struggle over an unjustified and hurtful strip search of a minor, and after the search received full support of the officer in charge of public complaints at the Israeli Police, of the commander in charge of preliminary inquiries at the Central Unit of the Jerusalem Police, and of the head of [a major patrol department] in the Israeli Police, the court ruled that the strip search of the minor was unreasonable in an extreme manner. The illegal and hurtful practice has been instilled in the Lev HaBira Jerusalem Police Department and customary there for many years, contrary to all relevant standards. The court ruled on suitable compensation that reflects both the injury to the minor and, according to our understanding, the dissatisfaction with the futile and cumbersome proceedings the police conducted for the purpose of defending the strip search.”

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