Israel Police has been ordered to compensate Noam Leer for infringement of his rights and various unlawful procedures following his arrest near the site of a protest demanding justice for Ahuvya Sandak.
Leer was represented by Eladi Wiesel of the Honenu rights organization. He claimed that his rights were infringed following his arrest when he was handcuffed when not legally required to be restrained, held in substandard conditions, not immediately brought before an officer as is required, and in additional instances.
"The plaintiff was interrogated only at half-past-four in the morning, and only brought before an officer at half-past-ten that morning, after 13 hours had passed since his arrest and only a short while before his court hearing," the judge noted. "I have found no justification for this [delay]. Such significant delays created additional breaches of the plaintiff's rights. If he had been interrogated and brought before an officer within a reasonable amount of time, and the officer had decided to extend his remand, then he could have been taken to prison and would have been able to get a reasonable night's sleep.
"Similarly, I find no justification for the fact that the plaintiff was shackled during his interrogation, nor for the fact that he was shackled when being led to and from the bathroom," the judge continued. "Police regulations specify that a detainee is not to be shackled within the police station other than in exceptional cases which this was not. The police representative has admitted that the plaintiff was not violent and therefore there was no reason to shackle him within the police station."
Summing up, the judge ruled that Israel Police is to compensate Leer with a payment of NIS 7,750.
In the plaintiff's statement that was submitted to the court, Leer's arrest was described as having taking place "on March 18th, 2021, at around 21:30, when the plaintiff and his younger brother left their home in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood [of Jerusalem] headed for the Central Bus Station, in order to purchase supper. On the way to the Central Bus Station they passed the Chords Bridge where a demonstration was taking place following the death of Ahuvya Sandak after a police chase. When the two reached the train tracks, intending to cross over on their way to Central Station, the plaintiff noticed a police officer signaling to him to approach. The plaintiff obeyed the order and approached the officer.
"When the plaintiff reached the officer, the officer grabbed hold of his hand forcefully with no word of warning, without identifying himself, and told him that he was under arrest. The plaintiff was stunned as he had done nothing and he tried to ask the police officer why he was being arrested, but the police officer refused to provide him with a reason. After around 15 minutes the plaintiff was placed in a police car and taken to the Lev Habira police station where he was taken to a holding cell.
"During the long hours at the police station, the plaintiff was not brought before an officer and not given the opportunity to have his arguments heard. During the night, a senior officer arrived at the police station and issued a general order, without meeting with any of the arrestees, that not one of them was to be released before being brought to a court hearing.
"The officer also ordered that each time a detainee left his cell, even if only to use the facilities, his legs would be shackled, and as a result, the plaintiff was shackled multiple times during the hours of his detention, when going to and from the bathroom or the interrogation room, and also during his interrogation. The next morning, the plaintiff learned that police were requesting that the court release him conditionally."
The plaintiff's statement also notes that even though police wanted Leer released conditionally, they actually left him in detention at that point, which is contrary to the law.
Following the judge's ruling, attorney Wiesel stated, "We are delighted with the court's ruling. It is inconceivable that Israel Police should be able to make arrests wholesale without any distinction and minimal examination of whether there is any reason for arresting the person. The plaintiff, along with many others similarly arrested, was taken to the police station with police violating his legal rights, leaving him imprisoned for long hours without any legal justification. Israel Police should now take the judge's criticism to heart and cease these illegal arrests they are using to try to stamp out the protests over the death of Ahuvya Sandak."