A left-wing activist from Haifa who was barred from demonstrating for two weeks has won a court appeal allowing him to take to the streets again.
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Haifa resident Yoav Bar participated in a rally on Ben-Gurion Boulevard in Haifa’s German Colony last Friday night to protest against the policy of administrative detention in the West Bank and as an act of solidarity with the administrative detainees on hunger strike, as the rally’s participants defined it.
At the end of the rally, police at the scene arrested Bar on suspicion of having held an illegal demonstration. On Saturday night, the police asked Haifa Magistrate’s Court to extend Bar’s remand by three days.
During the hearing, the police’s representative said that the gathering had been forbidden and that “a Palestinian flag had been there.”
Judge Revital Baum turned down the police’s request, noting that she was expressing no opinion on whether the act he had committed was legal or not, and ordered his release, but ruled that Bar must stay away from Ben-Gurion Boulevard for 14 days.
Bar and his attorney, Suhad Bishara of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, appealed the Magistrate’s Court ruling. During the hearing, they claimed that Bar had committed no crime and that the demonstration had not included a march or political addresses, and that according to the police’s orders, the demonstration did not require a permit, and was legal — a claim accepted by the District Court. In overturning the previous ruling, Haifa District Court Judge Sari Jayoussi said he had difficulty understanding the purpose behind it.