ACRI Appeals to AG to Stop Police from Corralling Protestors
Earlier today (12.10.20), ACRI appealed to the Attorney General requesting he demand that the police immediately cease the practice known as kettling – a form of crowd control widely criticized for violating human rights, during which police corral protestors into a confined space – against demonstrators.
Evidence gathered by ACRI indicates that police are kettling protesters by holding hands with one another or putting up physical barriers, and subsequently pushing the protesters into a confined area. The time period in which they are held there varies, with reports of up to two hours.
Numerous protestors who were trapped in this manner in recent demonstrations were within the 1,000 meters from their home, and those affected also include the elderly, children, and journalists covering the demonstrations. Documentations of the kettling published on social media show people were trampled as a result of the overcrowding in the confined spaces, some experienced anxiety attacks, some were forced to defecate behind trees and trash bins, and some even attempted to climb over the barriers in order to escape. There is documentation of protestors begging the police to let them out. At times, in order to be released, the police required that protesters present their IDs and receive a ticket.
In the appeal, ACRI’s lawyers wrote that the collective restriction of the freedom of movement, even at an illegal gathering, has no legal justification. Israel’s Criminal Procedure Law stipulates that restricting a person’s freedom of movement is only permissible if there is concrete and specific suspicion against that person, and only for one of the specified purposes (clarification of identity, interrogation, and delivery of documentation.) The law is no way permits the mass and random detention of persons without a clear purpose. The letter also states that the practice of kettling is illegal under international law. The UN Commission on Human Rights recently issued a set of obligations to the signatory states to the Convention on Civil Rights, including Israel, to protect the freedom of assembly. The comments state that the use of kettling is permitted only for the purpose of dealing with violence resulting from demonstrators. As such, clearly the use of this practice at random and without any real threat on the part of the demonstrators is illegal, and ACRI calls on the Attorney General to demand that the police desist.