Police from the Judea and Samaria District have been criticized for their treatment of minors in three recent court cases. In all three instances, the police were found to have acted in violation of the law.
In the first case, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court awarded NIS 34,000 in damages to a family in the Jewish settlement of Tekoa. The magistrate, Oded Shaham, found that members of the Arenstoff family had been illegally arrested and their home had been searched and items confiscated without legal justification, in connection with a 2004 incident. The police search followed a complaint by a son of the settlement's rabbi, Menachem Froman. The son reported that someone had thrown a rock at the rabbi's home and fled in the direction of the Arenstoff home.
The police then entered the home without a warrant and confiscated a number of possessions, including a computer, printer and cellphone. Police allegedly arrested two members of the family and hit one of them. In his ruling, Judge Shaham stated there was no factual basis at the time to believe that members of the family had committed a crime, which would have justified a search of their home without a warrant. The judge also said that any potential suspects were female, and he therefore deemed it negligent on the part of the police to subsequently arrest a male suspect.
In a second case, two minors were arrested this week at the unauthorized West Bank Jewish outpost of Oz Zion. They were brought to court by the police the following day, in an effort to have their release made subject to certain conditions.
The state claimed one of suspects had committed assault by "lightly touching" a policeman's shoulder. Jerusalem Magistrate Irit Cohen ordered the two be released unconditionally, ruling that the police had acted in violation of regulations. She added the pair should not have been arrested. She also took the police investigator, Yossi Ben Arush, to task, saying he had come to court at noon the day after the arrest while the minors had been waiting there since 7 A.M.
The third incident involved a Palestinian minor who had been arrested in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh and confessed under interrogation to throwing stones. His lawyer asked that the confession be withdrawn, saying it had been procured illegally because the suspect had not been advised of his rights, his parents had not been notified, the suspect had been subjected to improper pressure and had not slept.
A military court judge, Maj. Sharon Rivlin, accepted the suspect's testimony but also stated that the behavior of the police had been illegal. The judge noted that the interrogation of the accused was seriously flawed in that the interrogator failed to inform the suspect of his right to remain silent.
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