Netzarim, just before Disengagement
Netzarim, just before Disengagement Israel news photo: Flash 90

A Jerusalem court ordered police to pay NIS 35,000 in damages and NIS 10,000 in court costs to a Jerusalem couple who were falsely arrested during the 2005 disengagement. Police said they would not appeal the decision.

The incident began about six months before the disengagement, when Yosef Kitov protested against the disengagement outside the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem as a police function was going on inside the hotel. Kitov and four youths held signs protesting the disengagement by holding signs. Police then broke up the protest, arresting Kitov and his wife Emuna and holding them in prison for three days.

In 2007, Kitov attempted to ascend the Temple Mount, but during a routine security check was surprised to learn that he “owed” police NIS 750. The money was a fine that had been issued in lieu of a stint in prison he had been sentenced to – in a trial that he did not know had been conducted and that he had not even been summoned to. Police hauled Kitov off to a Jerusalem lockup, keeping him there for half a day.

Police were unable to tell Kitov why he owed the money. It was only later, by dint of his own investigation, that he discovered the reason.

A year later, he was summoned to the Kiryat Malachi police station on another matter. Once again police demanded NIS 750 from him, this time telling him that he had been a suspect in a case of rioting in a “closed military zone.” Kitov's claims that he had never even been in such an area went unheeded.

Once again he was arrested, this time taken to a Jerusalem lockup and held overnight again. This time he was held in the same cell with drug addicts and other dangerous criminals. He was then brought to court, where he was able to finally tell a judge of the runaround and difficulties he was experiencing at the hands of police.

Meanwhile, police had been busy with Kitov's wife, who was also arrested and held for several days in a Tel Aviv lockup. She was later released – at 10:30 PM, holding an infant, without money and without supplies. Police were unwilling to assist her in getting home.

Finally being pushed too far, the couple filed a lawsuit against police. Aided by MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home) and attorneys Hanoch Rubin and Angel Goldenberg, the couple successfully won the lawsuit, which was confirmed Wednesday after police appealed it.

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