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Att'y Ben-Gvir Wins Legal Precedent For Samaria Minor

Nationalist attorney wins case for minor arrested by Ariel police who 'forgot' to inform his parents, says will force police consideration.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 12/17/2013, 8:37 PM

Lawyer Itamar Ben-Gvir
Lawyer Itamar Ben-Gvir
Flash 90

Judge Avraham Rubin, vice-president of the Magistrates Court in Jerusalem, ordered the police to compensate a minor from the Samaria (Shomron) outpost community Shevut Ami, after an investigator of the Ariel police "forgot" to inform his parents that he had been arrested.

The minor, whose name was not released for publication, was arrested in March 2011 together with other youth at Shevut Ami. Police claimed their presence there was in violation of orders designating it a closed military area. 

While his companions were arrested on suspicion of hitting police officers, the minor was only detained for questioning at first. Later, a police captain told him he was being arrested. Unlike his companions, the minor wasn't brought to court, and was only freed from custody the following evening.

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir represented the minor in a damages suit against the police, saying "it is unthinkable that a minor should disappear in the middle of the night without the possibility of letting his parents know he's been arrested or detained. The police must be strict on every letter of the law, and if they won't, then we'll be forced to sue them."

Judge Rubin turned down the claim against the allegedly unnecessary arrest of the minor, positing that while the minor was briefly detained illegally, his arrest was legal. However, the second part of the lawsuit was accepted, as the judge determined the police investigator didn't inform the minor's parents of his arrest as required by law.

The court ordered the police to compensate the minor with 2,000 shekels ($570), as well as 1,000 shekels ($285) for the lawyer's professional fees.

Ben-Gvir heralded the ruling as "an important precedent, and I hope that the police in general and particularly in Judea and Samaria, where their investigators aren't always strict regarding human rights, will now be more strict."

The police investigator's testimony did not hold up to close scrutiny.

Judge Rubin remarked that the investigator claimed to have called the parents around 11 p.m. when the arrest was made, he claimed to have obtained their phone number at the start of investigating the minor. However, when confronted with the fact that the investigation began at 4:14 a.m., the officer admitted to not remembering when he talked to the parents.

According to the minor's account, which the court accepted, he was allowed to call his parents around 4 a.m. with the start of the investigation, but they didn't answer his early morning call. The minor's father said he only found out about his son's arrest two days later from one of his friends.

Statements from the court read "we are dealing with someone who was a minor at the time of the event, and as such the court has great interest in ensuring that his rights will be guarded."

The police claim that the minor's presence in a closed military area, a supposed criminal act, allowed them to turn down his lawsuit, was rejected by the judge who noted not a single court ruling supports this approach.