Judge Orders Release of Anti-asylum Seeker Protest Leader Detained in South Tel Aviv

Sheffi Paz, who campaigns against asylum seekers, claimed police was 'trying to silence her by means of false arrests'

Josh Breiner
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File photo: Activist Sheffi Pas at a protest in Tel Aviv, November 25, 2018.
File photo: Activist Sheffi Pas at a protest in Tel Aviv, November 25, 2018.Credit: Moti Milrod
Josh Breiner

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court released on Sunday Sheffi Paz, an activist leader who regularly protests the presence of asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv, without restrictive conditions.

She was detained on Saturday at a demonstration near the old Central Bus Station. According to police, she was detained for unruly behavior in a public place and attacking a policemen, and for resisting arrest.

After being questioned, Paz was asked to sign restrictive terms of release, which included staying away from the old Central Bus Station. She refused and spent a night in the nearby police station. The police brought her before Judge Ala Masarwa and demanded that she be released on bail and be kept away from the area for five days.

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Paz’s defense attorney said that “they’re trying to silence her by means of false arrests. The arrests end with nothing, but continue in order to silence the organizers.”

Masarwa rejected all the police’s claims and ordered Paz released unconditionally. “I agree with the defense attorney,” he ruled. “I found no justification for imposing a restriction in the guise of distancing her, or even for determining conditions of release.”

Paz said that she would continue to protest against asylum seekers. “I’ll continue to protest because these are scare arrests,” she said.

Paz’s detention and release join another case that took place last week, when Gonen Ben Yitzhak, a leader of the protests against the attorney general and the Yellow Vest protest, was detained over the weekend. Ben Yitzhak also refused to sign the conditions for being distanced. He was released by the court without restrictive conditions, despite the opinion of the police.

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