Israeli Court Orders Removal of Restraints on Intubated Palestinian Detainee

The judge ruled that the decision to cuff the detainee – who stabbed a Jerusalem man last week – was unreasonable given his unconscious state

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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The detainee Murad Barakat hospitalized, this week.
The detainee Murad Barakat hospitalized, this week.
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

The Jerusalem District Court ordered that a Palestinian suspect of a stabbing attack, who is intubated and in an induced coma at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, be released from hand and foot restraints.

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Judge Shirley Renner, ruled that the police had not determined the extent of the detainee’s level of danger, as required by the police’s own procedures. She ruled that the decision to restrain the suspect, “exceeds the boundaries of reasonability,” adding that “in a situation in which the petitioner is intubated and unconscious and constantly watched by two police officers, he does not constitute a danger that justifies restraining him.

The detainee, Murad Barakat, stabbed a man on Saturday on Hebron Road in Jerusalem, slightly injuring him. Barakat was shot by police; the bullet entered his abdomen and struck his spinal cord. He underwent complex surgery and has been in an induced coma and intubated since then. Although doctors do not expect that he will be able to move from his bed any time soon, the police insisted on cuffing both legs and one hand to his bed.

Police at the site of the stabbing attack in Jerusalem on Saturday.Credit: Israel Police spokesperson

Reem Assadi, a lawyer from the Legal and Health Clinic of the College of Administration, petitioned the court to have Barakat released from restraints. The petition included the opinion of the director of the hospital’s trauma unit, Prof. Alon Schwartz, that restraining Barakat was dangerous to his heath. In the hearing, the police claimed that the detainee was dangerous and should remain restrained during the time he is emerging from the induced coma.

In ordering the restraints removed, the judge quoted the police procedure that requires determination of a prisoner’s level of danger. She ruled that such a determination had not been made in the case of Barakat, and that “a decision to restrain a hospitalized detainee cannot be a general one.” The judge wrote that from the material she had been given after the hearing “it does not appear that a concrete determination had been in the matter of the petitioner given his condition.”

Schwartz asked that the police remove Barakat’s restraints, explaining that “movement is essential to his health and any restraint of movement endangers his recovery, by creating deep-vein blood clots, as well as pressure sores and infections.” Schwartz also approached Dr. Tami Karni, who chairs the ethics board of the Israel Medical Association, and Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev. In response, Karni wrote: “It is important to remember that the role of the guards is to guard the prisoner, not punish him. Punishment must be left to the decision of the court after his recovery.”

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