Yitzhar: Police Criticized for Night Raid

Three residents of northern Samarian community of Yitzhar arrested on suspicion of obstructing arrest of fellow community member.

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Adam Ross,

Previous confrontation near Yitzhar
Previous confrontation near Yitzhar
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Police have arrested three residents of Yitzhar in northern Samaria (Shomron) as their children looked on, in a raid that has once again drawn criticism from rights activists. The three were arrested on suspicion of having obstructed the previous arrest of another Yitzhar resident, Boaz Albert.

Last month, it took police four and half hours to free Albert from a homemade lock at his home. Albert has been arrested a number of times for breaking an administrative order preventing him from visiting his home.

Police, who have never given a reason for the order, said that the three men arrested last night - part of a large number of Yitzhar residents protesting police treatment of Albert - had attacked police during the course of his arrest.

A family member of one of the men said the arrests were carried out inappropriately, amid screams and cries of young children in the family who had been "left shocked and very distressed" by the incident.

The Honenu legal-aid organization criticized the police for the way they arrests were carried out.

A statement by Honenu said, "Police could have simply sent an officer and made the arrests without resistance during the middle of the day, but preferred to conduct a wide-ranging and degrading operation in the middle of the night."

"There is nothing more humiliating than to be arrested in such a manner in the middle of the night, in front of your children," it added, saying that the suspects were still in shock from the way they were arrested.

After being questioned by police, the three men refused to sign a conditional release form, instead asking that they be taken before a judge to give an account of the arrest by police.

Honenu also urged police to learn from the case and to act with more sensitivity toward detainees.