A judge ruled Monday evening that the police must compensate a group of prominent nationalist activists for their unlawful arrest and detention 2.5 years ago.
The nationalists, who include leaders Itamar Ben Gvir, Noam Federman, Daniela Weiss, Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katzover, were on their way to hold a protest outside the home of then-Central Command Head Maj.-Gen. Gad Shamni, in September 2008.
Police detained the nationalists at the Modi'in station. After a short investigation, Ben Gvir was told that he would only be released if he agreed to an order distancing him from Shamni's community and to place a deposit of 5,000 shekels. Ben Gvir refused the conditions and was held in jail overnight. He was released the next day when a Ramle judge ordered him freed unconditionally.
The activists filed a civil complaint with the help of the Human Rights in Yesha organization, which represented some of them in court. The prosecution replied that the activists had illegally congregated outside a public official's home. Magistrates' Court judge Tamar Bar-Asher Tzaban determined in her ruling, however, that none of the activists had actually entered Shamni's community. The judge noted that police did allow other activists to hold a prayer outside Shamni's home.
There was no justification for the arrests, wrote Bar-Asher Tzaban. The police's actions "are typical of shady regimes that deny citizens their freedom to prevent them from publicly expressing their opinions."
She ordered the police to pay each of the petitioners 4,700 shekels, and to award Ben Gvir – who was arrested –14,000 shekels.