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Judge Re-educates Police on Right to Protest

 Last Friday, after a demonstration against the Amona eviction, Police arrested two minors and issued strict restraining orders against them. These orders included prohibiting them from being present in the entire Binyamin Region for a month and house arrest for one of the boys.
Attorney Avichai Hajbi, from the Honenu civil rights organization filed an appeal on their behalf in the District Court.  Judge Drori, the District Court justice, accepted the appeal and ordered the boys released. He also nullified the restraining orders and house arrest.

The police inspector who represented the police in court said, “The Police have a right to prevent a citizen they suspect is violating the law by taking part in an illegal rally. They can distance those youth from the area where the rallies happen”.

Judge Drori considered the Police action to be silencing free speech and had strong words for the inspector. He said: “Regarding civil rights in Israel, I am forced to start from the beginning. A person is permitted to do something not forbidden by law. Every person has a right to participate in a demonstration. This is a basic law called “Freedom of Speech”.

‘Do the police treat university demonstrators the same way, ‘wondered Drori.  It seems more like the selective silencing of demonstrations against the destruction of Amona which the government has scheduled for December 25th. ‘I have assumed, naively, that the Police collect information and that officers who deal with demonstrations are briefed on the right to protest and the limitations of Police force’, said Judge Drori in a scathing rebuke to the Police.

After the successful appeal, Honenu released the following statement: ‘The attempt to create a special law discriminating against Amona supporters was nipped in the bud. The Police and Lower court were re-educated on the norms of democracy, and what is a fair and reasonable response to a protest. We hope they take what they learned seriously and not curtail the freedom of speech and protest permitted by law’.


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