Police Sued for False Arrest of Mother, Baby
In the upcoming days the Israel Police will face a lawsuit over the alleged false arrest of Emuna Ki-Tov, who was detained in 2008 along with her six-month-old child.
Ki-Tov is accusing police of treating her cruelly and of leaving her without food or adequate clothing for her baby. She spoke to Arutz Sheva about the case.
The incident in question began when she was summoned for questioning regarding an investigation involving her husband, who was accused of taking part in an illegal protest against the 2005 “Disengagement” from Gaza and northern Samaria (Shomron), she said.
She arrived at the police station as requested, planning to stay for one hour or possible two. Only after arriving was she told that her husband had already been questioned, had been arrested under an administrative order, and had been transferred to a holding cell in Jerusalem, she recalled.
After she told police her story, she said, she was informed that an arrest warrant had been issued for her, as well, for alleged participation in an illegal demonstration against the Disengagement years earlier, when she was a minor.
Ki-Tov said she tried to explain to the officers that she had already been tried for her participation in the protest in question, and had been sentenced to pay a fine. The police replied that she "did not understand" the legal system, and could not decide whether a case was closed or not, she said.
At that point, she recalled, police began threatening that if she did not leave her baby, Welfare Services officials would come take him. She refused to leave her child despite their warnings.
Officers did not allow her access to any of the things she needed in order to properly care for the baby, including diapers or a place to nurse him privately, she accused. She was transferred to Tel Aviv in a car, and no safety seat was provided for her baby, she added.
When she arrived in Tel Aviv, it was already nine thirty at night. The judge who was supposed to hear her case was not present, she said, “So I found myself alone with three strange men in a courtroom, three men who treated my very unpleasantly.”
When the judge arrived, she discovered that he could not rule in the case because she had been a minor at the time of the alleged infraction. The judge, realizing that her husband was being detained in Jerusalem and she had no one to turn to for bail at ten at night, decided to release Emuna, who promised to attend a later hearing.
However, she related, being freed from custody did not end her troubles: she was still alone with her young baby in a city far from her home, with no food, diapers or baby clothes, with no bus pass, and with no money to buy any of what she needed. The police who had brought her to the city had disappeared.
After teary phone calls to friends, she found a friend of a friend in Tel Aviv who was able to take her in. She slept in her friend’s friend’s house, and returned home the next morning.
The next Monday, she appeared in Youth Court for her hearing, where judge quickly decided that the whole thing had been a "mistake," she said.
“The judge told the police that the arrest had been a mistake, and that there was no complaint against me because the case had been closed a long time ago,” she said.
Nobody apologized, she added.
After her ordeal Emuna decided to sue the police department on the advice of the Honenu legal aid group.