TA Court Criticizes Police Handling of Arrest of 2 Minors

Tel Aviv Juvenile Court Judge Ruth Ben Hanoch on Thursday sharply criticized the police's handling of the arrest of two minors, taken into custody on Wednesday at a left-wing rally in Tel Aviv against Israel Defense Forces actions in Gaza.

The court rejected a police request to place the two under restrictive measures.

Ben Hanoch reprimanded the police for holding the two youths, aged 15, at the prison in Abu Kabir overnight, only to request in the morning that the court release them under restrictive measures.

The judge accepted the claim made by the minors' attorney, Yael Barda, that the arrest was used as a deterrence measure. "Obviously the arrest was intended to serve as a form of punishment, so as to deter the minors from returning and taking part in demonstrations. The court must be cautious, lest legal procedures be used as an easy way to shut people up and restrict freedom of expression," she said.

The Tel Aviv Magistrate's court on Thursday rejected a separate police request to distance six individuals, arrested Wednesday, from the scene of the demonstration for one month. The court in addition rejected a request to ban demonstration participants who are not from Tel Aviv from entering the city for one month.

The attorney representing the six detained individuals, Michael Sfard, claimed in court that the requests were aimed at preventing people from protesting, and that the random arrest of his six clients is an effort to deter others from taking part in demonstrations.

The court released the six on bail. All six, among them David Zonshin from the "Courage to Refuse" organization, will take part in a Peace Now rally Thursday night opposite the Defense Minister's office in Tel Aviv.