Investigation of Protestors Who Came to Testify
Today (5.10.2020), ACRI appealed to the Attorney General after protestors who responded to the request of the Police to give testimony regarding a car crash during a protest found themselves being investigated as suspects for violating the public order and COVID regulations. One of the protestors, who was upset about the fact that instead of giving testimony she was investigated with a warning, was told that “it is an order from above.”
In the appeal, Attorney Tal Hassin argued that the conduct of the Police in this case is deceptive and goes against the law stating that the detention and investigation of a suspect may take place only under a reasonable basis that he or she had committed an offense, or will likely commit an offense. The very participation in a protest does not in itself serve as a basis for investigation, and investigating protestors who came to the police by their own accord to give testimony based only on collective and unbased suspicions makes every protestor a potential suspect. Attorney Hassin wrote, “This is part of a broad and alarming trend of persecuting protestors for foreign motives, while disparaging and completely distorting the criminal process, and using governmental power in a forbidden and invalid manner.”
The appeal further argued that the conduct of the Police violates the right of the individual for fair process, erodes public trust in the Police, and sabotages the public interest requiring cooperation between the public and the Police for solving crimes and offenses.
We have therefore asked the General Attorney to re-emphasize the legal provisions regarding the investigation of witnesses and suspects among the various District Commanders of the Police. We further asked that he instruct the Minister of the Public Security, Amir Ohana, to cease his failed attempts, driven by extraneous motives, to interfere with the day-to-day work and operational activity of the Police.