Temple Mount activists detained, strip searched

For a selection of cases in which Honenu Attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please click here.

Thursday, April 14, 2022, 17:32 On Thursday, April 14, Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Amir Shaked ordered the conditional release from remand of the four Hozrim L’Har activists who were detained the previous night. The activists had formally declared that they would attempt to realize their right to freedom of worship and perform the Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount. Their release conditions include several days of house arrest, distancing from the Temple Mount, not being interviewed on the subject of the investigation (Passover sacrifice) and a temporary ban from social media platforms. Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who is representing the activists, appealed the conditions with the Jerusalem District Court. During the hearing Rom stated that, “This is an attempt to silence individuals and a severe violation of human rights, the right to representation in a court of law, and the right to freedom of worship.”

At the hearing, it was revealed that some of the activists underwent a complete strip search during their detention. Additionally, a representative of the police presented to the court material from the Telegram channel of Raad Salah, who has consistently made threats in light of the activists’ intentions to perform the Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount. In reply to a question from Rom regarding the threats, the police representative answered that the police do not intend to investigate Salah about the matter.

After the court’s decision, Rom leveled criticism at the police: “The detention was scandalous, humiliating, punitive, and an anti-democratic attempt to prevent the right to freedom of worship and to freedom of expression from the detainees. Although they have repeated their intents year after year, they have never been indicted. Freedom of worship is not granted to only one sector in Israel.

“The Israel Police makes declarations that freedom of worship will be maintained for all religions. Unfortunately, that does not happen. Tens of thousands of inciters call for the destruction of the State of Israel and for violence on the Temple Mount, but when two people walk around with a young goat, they are illegally detained and humiliated.

“The Israel Police refused to answer our questions regarding threats to violence, and which sector poses them. In court, the police presented a post from the Telegram channel of Raad Salah, a terrorist, who threatened violence if the Passover sacrifice were performed. To my question of whether or not the police intended to investigate or detain Salah over his incitement to violence, the reply was ‘no’.”

Prior to the hearing, in light of an expectation that the police would ask for restrictive release conditions, Honenu Attorney Nati Rom stated that, “This is a severe violation of freedom of worship and of human rights. This is a preventative and punitive detention, which is illegal.”

A short time before the hearing, the Jerusalem Police did indeed submit a request for conditions, including prohibition of being interviewed by the media. Rom leveled sharp criticism at the police: “This detention is not only scandalous, but also an anti-democratic attempt by the Israel Police not to allow the detainees their most basic right to freedom of expression, to be interviewed by the media. I expect all activists championing human rights, such as freedom of the press and freedom of worship, to do all they can to express their dissatisfaction with the request by the Israel Police.”

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