Israeli Minor Complains Police Forced Him to Strip Completely

Forcing a suspect to strip completely for a search is both illegal and contrary to police regulations says the Haifa public defender.

Daniel Tchetchik

A 15-year-old youth claimed in court on Wednesday that police investigators had forced him to undress at the conclusion of his interrogation for no apparent reason.

The youth, who was arrested at the beginning of the month on suspicion of credit card fraud and possession of hashish for personal use, was appearing at a remand hearing in the Haifa Juvenile Court.

According to the youth's statement, he had already removed his shirt and trousers during the course of the interrogation. When the questioning was over, he said, one of the interrogators ordered him to remove his underwear.

"I told him that I didn't want to," the youth said. "It was the guy who took me to the cell, before I entered it. He told me that if I didn't do it he'd do it by force. After I had removed my underwear, he told me to bend over. They put me in the cell barefoot. This is my first time in detention."

Attorney Anat Meyased Canaan of the Haifa Public Defender’s Office told Haaretz that the reported incident was "in stark contradiction of the law and even contrary to the police's own regulations."

"Both the law and the regulations allow for searches that do not require nudity," she added. "As long as these regulations are in place, such searches are forbidden and illegal."

However, a police representative said during a court hearing earlier this month that "it is normal to do such searches before the suspect enters the cell."

Extending the youth's remand by a day, the judge criticized the police saying that while no one denied the police's right to search a suspect, he found the reported incident "puzzling, to say the least."