Ahuvya Sandak
Ahuvya SandakCourtesy of the family

The Israel National Police arrested four Jews last weekend on suspicion of searching for the address of police officers involved in the police chase several weeks ago in which Ahuvyah Sandak was killed. The court released the four detainees almost immediately and without restrictive conditions, and even reprimanded the police for making the arrest.

Shmulik Payne, a resident of Otniel and one of the detainees, recounted the arrest on his Twitter feed: “i was sitting in the town pharmacy when a man in civilian clothes entered and asked me to come with him. At first I didn’t understand who he was - I didn’t know him, how did he know me? He soon clarified that I was under arrest by the Judea and Samaria Regional Precinct - who else? - on charges of invasion of privacy, unwarranted investigation, and harassment.”

Payne was taken to the detention cell at the Rosh Haayin precinct, where all his belongings were taken from him until he waited for an interrogator. "Before we even started, it became clear that there were three other detainees in the same situation as I was, and that the courts had already started proceedings for their release. The police attorney, who is supposed to be the one explaining why we pose such a threat that we can be arrested in broad daylight instead of simply summoned for questioning, seems to be flustered by the pressure. He eventually admits that he does not have the required documentation for holding us, prompting the man in charge of the investigation to take him outside and shout at him for a short time. It seemed they had been working on this until morning, and that the police attorney shouldn’t have had the material at all if he couldn’t defend it to the court.”

He said, "After this amusing saga, the investigation begins; we are charged with attempting to find the addresses of the officers responsible for Ahuvyah’s death on Facebook, with the intention of protesting in front of them. This is, somehow, a serious offence in our democratic state.

Payne contacted the Honenu legal defense organization, and an attorney explained to him that there was no legal problem with the course of action with which he was charged. "If you demonstrate freely in front of Bibi and Mandelblit's house, you can demonstrate in front of any public figure’s house - including police officers,” said the attorney.

"I hung up from the call with the lawyer and the police began to question me. 'What did you plan to do?', they asked. ‘How did you look for their private address? Are you an organization? Why did you want to demonstrate in front of their house?’ and more and more ridiculous questions. After something like half an hour, during which the interrogator tried to explain to me that it was not worth demonstrating in front of an officer’s house and after he showed me my own messages to a friend in which we discussed finding the addresses, the interrogation ended and I was returned to the detention cell. At first the police insisted that I be kept overnight, having arrived later than the others, but my lawyer angrily informed them that there was no such thing, and that if we were being charged together we would be released together.”

"After a quarter of an hour in the detention cell, the interrogator arrived to release me, but would not return my phone," he said. "I found myself in the middle of Rosh Haayin in pouring rain, with a short shirt and nothing hot to wear. I had to hitchhike home for three hours - all because the Judea and Samaria Regional Police can’t be bothered with the protocols of arrest and interrogation required by law.