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Court Releases Israeli Leftist Activists, Slams Police for Limiting Free Speech

Leftist activists were detained while demonstrating near the Havat Maon outpost on Saturday to protest the stabbing of a Palestinian days earlier.

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court released on Sunday leftist activists detained while demonstrating outside a West Bank outpost, stressing specifically that police had no authority to limit their freedom of speech.

The activists were detained after a demonstration near the Havat Maon outpost on Saturday to protest the stabbing of a Palestinian days earlier. Police and Army forces presented them with a document declaring the area a closed military zone, leading to an argument in which 15 people were arrested.

Protesters in Sheikk Jarrah, East Jerusalem

After questioning them at the Hebron police station, police offered to release the activists in exchange for a promise to stay away from the area, which they refused.

Representing the detainees, attorney Nery Ramati told the court they were not met with any opposition by the settlers and that therefore there was no risk to anyone.

“Their stated purpose was a quiet, non-violent vigil against the non-enforcement of the law on the Jewish settlers in the area,” the lawyer said.

Judge Yoel Tsur decided to immediately release all the detainees. “The release of detainees must not be based on conditions that may harm the right for freedom of opinion and freedom of expression,” he wrote.

Police took flack from the right as well yesterday for taking a resident of the settlement of Itamar in for questioning at 5:30 A.M. to investigate the killing of a Palestinian in Arak Borin.

Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan accused the police of insensitivity.

A police spokesman said that after investigating the complaint, he had found that the officers acted properly.