50-year-old Kfar Saba resident David Cohen was questioned, arrested, released to house arrest, forced to sign and deposit bail, and his phone was taken from him, all because his name is similar to that of a person who wrote on Facebook against gender disorientation organizations and their parade in Ashdod.
At the end of last month Cohen, a father and grandfather, received an unidentified phone call. On the line was an investigator named Doron, who summoned Cohen to the police station in Ashdod. After talking to another policeman named Yaniv, Cohen arrived at the Russian Compound police station in Jerusalem.
In the Russian Compound, Cohen was interrogated by an investigator named Manny Haddad, all the while not knowing what he was suspected of. Cohen was asked about his ties to the city of Ashdod and was told that he was accused of writing incitement against same-sex attracted people in Ashdod, ahead of a parade that was expected to take place two days later.
Cohen told the investigator that "since I opened a Facebook account a decade ago, I've done nothing on it," and said he was against such incitement. In addition, he has no connection to the city of Ashdod. He relates that at the end of the interrogation, the investigator asked "Wait; if you didn't write it, who did?"
At the end of the interrogation, the investigator released Cohen with a restraining order not to enter the city of Ashdod for 15 days. Cohen refused to sign because he did nothing. He was subsequently arrested and taken for photographs and fingerprints. At this time his phone was taken from him. Cohen was handcuffed and taken by police to the Ashdod police station.
In Ashdod, Cohen had to wait while he was still handcuffed, unable to call his wife or lawyer, while not having eaten since noon before arriving at the Russian Compound. After a back-and-forth, Cohen relented and agreed to be released with a restraining order from the city of Ashdod, full house arrest for five days, and having to deposit a bond guarantee of NIS 2,500.
On Friday, while Cohen was under house arrest in his Kfar Saba home, an officer from the Ashdod police station called his wife, asking why Cohen did not answer the phone. His wife replied that the phone had been confiscated by the investigator in the Russian Compound. Cohen was summoned for further interrogation in the Kfar Saba Police Department.
In this interrogation he was again asked the same questions, but about further publication of incitement. Cohen was released to his home, and later received a call that since the Ashdod gender disorientation parade had already taken place the previous evening, he was released from house arrest and the restraining order. However, Cohen's money deposit and telephone were left with the police.
Attorney Adi Kedar from the Honenu legal aid organization accompanied Cohen to the police and informed them of their mistake in identifying the inciter. Kedar sent requests to the Ashkelon Magistrate's Court to order the police to return his telephone and return the money he deposited that they required for him to be released.
In his letters, Kedar referred to the fact that the additional incitement was published while he was already under house arrest "unequivocally proves that the applicant is not behind the publication, but the police continued its rampage while ignoring the many warning signs along the way, without checking the applicant's version and innocence.
"Due to all of the foregoing and in the absence of reasonable suspicion, the Honorable Court is requested to order the police to immediately return the deposit and mobile phone to the applicant and cancel the other terms of release, restrictions, and guarantees, as well as impose expenses on the police for its conduct."