Yedidia Epstein
Yedidia EpsteinIsrael National News

Right-wing activist Yedidia Epstein is suing the police and the ISA (Shin Bet) for NIS 42,000 after he was arrested by police, left to sleep on a bench at the police station, and taken to court in handcuffs.

The arrest was made during a demonstration that included waving Israeli flags that Epstein initiated about two months ago at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The lawsuit was filed by attorney Eladi Wiesel from the Honenu legal advocacy organization.

In the statement of claim, Attorney Wiesel describes the conduct of the police towards Epstein: "On July 5, 2023, Epstein published a post in which he wrote - 'In light of the terrorist attack yesterday in Tel Aviv and in light of repeated provocations and bullying against Jews in eastern Jerusalem, we will arrive today at 19:00 at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. All are invited to come show a Jewish presence and proudly wave the Israeli flag.' About an hour after the attendance demonstration began, Epstein was arrested and taken to Shalem police station. Epstein was interrogated at the police station. After the end of the investigation, Epstein asked the investigator to let him go home with a summons to appear the next day at the hearing, but the investigator refused his request."

"Despite the well-known legal provisions, the police officers of the station chose to leave Epstein in custody overnight in order for him to come as a detainee to the hearing of the request for release under conditions that a police officer cannot order. Worse, not only did the police officers not release Epstein, but they did not even transfer him to overnight detention in a detention center or provide him with the required conditions of detention at the station. Epstein was put in a cell at the station and was told by the police that that's where he would spend the night. Epstein asked the police to give him a blanket and a mattress so he could sleep with them, but the police told him that they apologized, but there was a shortage, and therefore he would have to sleep without a mattress ".

"Epstein asked several times to provide him with a blanket and a mattress, but the policemen repeated their answer that there was a shortage. When Epstein hinted to the policemen that the detainee sleeping in the next cell had two mattresses, they told him that he should not take one of the mattresses because it was disgusting and full of germs. "The minor found himself forced to spend the night trying to sleep in a cell at the police station when he had no mattress to lie on and no blanket to cover himself with and escape the intense cold that prevailed in the station," described Wiesel.

Attorney Wiesel details in the statement how Epstein was forced to wait in the holding cell while he was fasting and was even taken to the court hearing with his hands and feet shackled: "Even the next morning, during the day of the 17th of Tammuz, the defendants did not rush to advance the release of the minor - a religious boy who was forced, in vain, to pass additional hours of the fast under conditions of detention - instead he was kept waiting in a cell and only around noon the defendant's guards came to take him to the hearing. Contrary to the law, the guards handcuffed the minor by his hands and feet and took him out handcuffed into the street. The minor was forced to be seen in a public place, a city street, while he was handcuffed like the worst of criminals, and not as a minor with no criminal record who is taken to the hearing for a request for release on bail. The minor was picked up from the street by the defendant's car and taken to court. The humiliation and harming of the minor did not stop in court either, but the guards led him while still handcuffed to the courtroom."

Attorney Wiesel said after filing the statement of claim: "This is a serious and unnecessary violation of the rights of a minor. Outrageous conduct that is presumed to be a deliberate abuse of the Israel Police against a minor, an idealist and a social activist, who set himself the goal of working to restore the feeling of security at the Damascus Gate and not to accept the state of affairs in which the Israeli flag cannot be hoisted in such a central place standing in the heart of the capital of Israel."

"However, in a puzzling manner, the Israel Police chooses time after time to create many difficulties for his legal protests and to violate his elementary rights to freedom of protest and movement. A violation of rights that reached its peak during the abusive arrest is the subject of the lawsuit. We hope that the lawsuit we filed will help the Israel Police to come to their senses and change their attitude regarding the absence of law enforcement at Damascus Gate, and instead of fighting those who seek to hoist the Israeli flag there, it will set itself to fight the Arab terror that seeks to prevent this and inflict its terror on anyone who dares to hoist the Israeli flag in the capital of Israel."