Daily Israel Report

Series of Police Violations in Arrest of Teenage Girls

Seven 15-year-old girls were arrested early Monday morning - for writing slogans and their names in the soot of a Jerusalem tunnel wall.
First Publish: 6/7/2005, 2:18 PM / Last Update: 6/7/2005, 12:38 PM

One of the girls, A.F., explained to Arutz-7 what transpired: "We had just returned from the Kotel (Western Wall), celebrating Jerusalem Day with singing and dancing, and we were walking through the new tunnel near the Jaffa Gate. The walls are full of soot from the cars, and some of the girls started writing their names or drawing pictures with their fingers in the soot, and one or two of the girls also wrote slogans such as, 'Jews Don't Expel Jews.'"

Apparently, one of the motorists didn't like what they were doing, and called the police - who quickly arrived, gathered them all up into the paddwagon and whisked them off to the Russian Compound police headquarters in Jerusalem.

"One policewoman tried to be nice," A. said, "saying we shouldn't make trouble and should just agree to say our names and then it would be over. So we did, but before we knew it, another police officer came in and said we were under arrest! Another policewoman said that this was not what we had been promised, but he just said that he's in charge and wasn't bound by what she said. When we asked what we were under arrest for, he just turned away and didn't answer."

A. said that some of them were taken to a jail cell, while others were locked up, first in one office, then in another. "We were even handcuffed for about an hour," she said. "They also forced us to give our fingerprints, which they are not allowed to do, as we are still minors."

This was confirmed for Arutz-7 by their lawyer, Atty. Ephraim Katzir. Katzir said, "The police did a series of violations in this case. They prevented the girls from meeting with their lawyer, namely me, based on a groundless claim that they didn't know if I was really their lawyer. They also tried to fool the parents into agreeing to the girl's release with severe restrictions. The policeman tried to convince them not to wait for me to enter the picture - but in the end, after I got involved, they were released with only very minor restrictions. In addition, two or three of the girls were not even arrested, yet they still spent the night in jail - which is totally against the law."

The girls were finally released around 1 PM.

As Atty. Katzir was talking with Arutz-7, he was trying to sort out yet another case of four youths arrested Monday night - including one 13-year-old - as they took part in the Jerusalem Day parade to the Old City. In the midst of trying to ascertain what was going on, Katzir said, "It looks like they are being charged with particiapting in anti-disengagement related activities or something ridiculous like that... In addition, the court personnel are violating court procedure by not allowing witnesses into the courtroom - witnesses who can say that the youths did nothing wrong."

Afternoon update: Atty. Katzir said that the four were in the midst of being released when it was suddenly decided that they had to provide fingerprints. They were therefore brought back into court for that purpose at around 5 PM. He expects that they will be released afterwards, almost 24 hours after their arrest.