A couple in their late 40′s were detained on Sunday in Jerusalem on suspicion of the husband’s involvement with vandalizing Arab property six months ago, Honenu reports. Eyewitnesses say that police conducted themselves violently. The couple was taken to the Moriah Police Station where they were interrogated.
Sunday afternoon R. and his wife S. received a telephone call from a neighbor who told them that three “thugs” in civilian clothes had banged on their door.
R., 49, is a kashrut supervisor, and his wife S. is head nurse at a Jerusalem hospital.
Later in the afternoon, when the couple returned home, the three men were still there and approached them. The men asked the husband for his name and he replied that they should identify themselves first. After they presented police badges R. showed them his ID card.
After the three policemen informed R. that he was being detained, he and his wife asked them if they had an arrest warrant and what the charges were. The policemen showed them a folded piece of paper, claiming that it was a warrant, and added that they would be informed of the charges at the police station.
But the issue of a proper warrant became moot as S. noticed that the policemen were approaching her husband in a threatening manner. She tried to move closer to him in order to protect him and then, according to her, one of the policemen forcefully pushed her. Subsequently S. suffered injuries to her neck and to one of her fingers.
One of the policemen told his colleague to take out handcuffs and then the three jumped on R. and severely beat him, damaging one of the parked cars in the process. Afterwards they knocked R. to the ground and as they continued to beat him, handcuffed him. During the detention R. was badly injured in all parts of his body, including a broken nose, and his glasses were broken. After they finished arresting R. the policemen informed his wife that she was also being detained, because she had attacked them.
S. relates that her husband did not resist the arrest in any way and certainly did not attack the policemen. The couple were taken to the Moriah Police Station in Jerusalem. After several hours of interrogation, S. was released. R. remained behind bars overnight. He was being interrogated on suspicion of involvement with “price tag” incidents involving damage to Arab property. The police did not have evidence but rather relied on “intelligence information”.
On Monday R. was brought to a deliberation at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. The police demanded a four day remand extension. Honenu attorney David HaLevi, who represented R., pleaded at the deliberation that the detention was violent and unnecessary, and that the charges lacked evidence, and therefore R. should be released. The judge rejected the police demand of a remand extension but due to the “severity of the accusations” sent R. to 30 days house arrest.
Honenu attorney David HaLevi replied that, “This was a serious incident in which the police used unrestrained violence on my client for no visible reason. My client suffered from serious injuries including a broken nose due to the violence conduct of the police and that is a most unreasonable outcome of a detention, especially when the detainee is a normative adult with absolutely no criminal record who has never had any dealings with the law enforcement system.”
HaLevi added that the incident has been recorded and “we intend to file a strong complaint with the Police Investigation Unit in order that they examine the conduct of the police during the incident.”
He also said: “In our humble opinion the police are groping in the dark and the detention of my client was carried out without a basis of genuine evidence against him, and the [court's] decision to release him supports this.”